Turkish Airlines’ Brilliant Super Bowl Ad, Starring Morgan Freeman

Filed Under: Turkish, Videos

As far as I’m concerned, the only redeeming quality of the Super Bowl is the commercials (and sometimes the halftime show). I didn’t even get to see it yesterday, though, as I was flying. Super Bowl ads aren’t cheap (last I heard a 30 second clip costs five million dollars), and historically we haven’t seen many airlines pay to advertise during the most watched U.S. TV event.

Well, this year there was one exception. Turkish Airlines had a 45 second ad during yesterday’s Super Bowl, as noted by Live and Let’s Fly.

As most of you probably know, Turkish Airlines is in a horrible financial situation. The past year has been very rough on Turkish Airlines, largely through no fault of their own. In late June several explosions went off at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, and then a couple of weeks later there was an attempted military coup.

Tourism in Turkey was already way down due to general safety concerns before these two things happened, and the recent situation has only made things worse. Months later Turkish’s CEO resigned.


While I know a lot of people don’t feel comfortable visiting Istanbul right now, I think it’s perfectly safe to transit the airport. What most people don’t realize is that Turkish Airlines flies to more countries than any other airline in the world. If you want to go somewhere, chances are that they fly there.

So rather than trying to convince people to visit Istanbul, Turkish’s focus is on getting people to feel comfortable flying with them and transiting Istanbul in order to explore the world.

Of course they don’t want to turn a Super Bowl ad into an infomercial, so how do you subconsciously put people at ease? You hire Morgan Freeman, of course!

Is there anyone in the world with a more calming and reassuring voice than Morgan? I mean, the guy has played God in some movies, that’s how calming he is.

Here’s the ad:

The ad talks about having a sense of exploration and seeing the world, and then continues with “if you are one of us, and you want to explore more of this great planet, we are ready to take you there.” Arguably there’s also a political statement in there, as Morgan Freeman refers to those of us who “delight in our differences.”

What a brilliant ad. Ultimately Turkish doesn’t necessarily have to promote their product or home country as such, but rather instill confidence in flying with the airline (even if their deicing procedures sometimes leave us scratching our heads). There’s no one who can do that better than Morgan Freeman.

What do you make of Turkish Airlines’ Super Bowl ad?

  1. I’m excited that I finally get to take my first trip on Turkish business to Europe this summer. Have an overnight transit but will probably book the airport hotel rather than leaving the airport even with a free hotel room. (More about an early flight the next day than to avoid Istanbul.)

  2. The Turkish Airlines ad was truly effective, accomplishing just what you said. The one that got to my soul was the one from 84lumber. I’ve sobbed, twice, watching it.

  3. “As most of you probably know, Turkish Airlines is in a horrible financial situation. The past year has been very rough on Turkish Airlines, largely through no fault of their own. ”

    Turkish Airlines is a puppet of the Islamist Turkish government so it’s their owners fault they are so fu$ked. The Empire Building by Turkey, especially in Central Asia is a manifestation of how they want to recreate the Ottoman Empire.

    Vile regime but great food!

  4. They are just unlucky they don’t have such a great supreme leader as we do here in the US.

    he who will build walls to prevent foreign dangerous airlines from the middle east to fly into our great again country and allow our great airlines (which are not puppets of the new great patriotic US administration) to thrive once again.

  5. Also a better idea to ditch Kobe Bryant in favour of a shorter Morgan Freeman because it (almost) makes the business class seat look comfortable and roomy 😉

  6. I found the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, political digs in many of this year’s Super Bowl ads to be rather annoying. I guess a lot of the liberal elites who commissioned those ads just don’t understand that the NFL has more Trump supporters than Hillary fans as fans.

    I really think all of the liberal “virtue signaling” that went on was equally bad for those businesses, and the NFL in general, which has seen viewership seriously decline this year, thanks in no small part to Colin Kaepernick and his BLM comrades.

    If a business only wants customers living in California, NYC, Madison, and Austin, then fine. If they want the broadest possible customer base, what were they thinking? Apparently that Middle Americans are “too stupid” to notice when they are being talked down to…

    I found the lecture from Audi on “equal pay for women”, adding the term “progressisve” lest anyone miss the point, to be highly hypocritical. Especially coming from a company whose management board is composed entirely of white males. For them to be lecturing the US, which has laws and commissions that require and enforce equal pay for women, is absurd. Maybe they should try pushing that agenda in their own country. A good start would be adding a non-white female to their management board. Don’t hold your breath waiting though…

    Making clear that they totally don’t understand their own prejudice is the fact that the ad, which had fat mean looking white boys, (but not a single black driver) being beaten in a soap box derby race by a cute Germanic looking girl, showed the girl and her father, but no mother was anywhere to be seen. The people who approved this ad need to take a good look in a mirror. 😉

    I especially don’t need to be lectured by an airline from an Islamist country that is currently ruled by a heavy handed dictator who is busily engaged in imprisoning his political opponents. “Bridging worlds, finding delight in our differences”? Really, would anyone seriously use that phrase to describe Recep Erdogan? Certainly not anyone of Kurdish ancestry. Probably not many of the readers here know that Turkey is now building high rise apartment buildings without balconies so that women are not seen outside by men who are not related to them. Islamic “modesty” is going to take precedence over fresh air and sunshine, by law.

    “One of us”? As in not one of the xenophobic “deplorables” who voted for Trump? Sorry, just not buying that false “diverse and inclusive” propaganda. The very mention of one of “us” is to disparage those who are being maligned as one of “them”. In what way is that either inclusive or diverse?

    On the other hand, Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations (let’s add a “sic” here after the word ‘United’, just for those who need something to complain about) is Nimrate “Nikki” Haley (nee Randhawa), the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants. Along with Seema Verma’s nomination for Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr Ben Carson for HUD, and Elaine Chao, an immigrant from Taiwan, for Trump’s Sec of transportation, it’s really a big tent. It takes someone who is a totally blindly partisan ideologue to see bigotry and xenophobia in those appointments. Still, it’s mind boggling how many will, and do. Even as they describe themselves as “fair and balanced” (sic).

  7. @Robert Hanson – When Trump supporters start boycotting those brands it makes the liberals support them even more. Its a well-planned strategy. Make ads about diversity and inclusiveness but profit from the division it creates.

  8. Was in Ankara and Istanbul last week. Flew the 60 minute flight between the 2 airports a few times. Got lucky and had an new 737-900 which had the best business class cabin in Europe i had ever seen. Personal video screens, large recline, footrests, much nicer than domestic first. Then on other flights i had the standard middle seat not occupied….. They had some amazing non-alcoholic take off drinks. One flight i asked for a vodka tonic with lunch and got vodka in a glass by itself. Next flight i made sure to ask for Vodka and another takeoff drink to mix it with, and it was delicious.

  9. I staus matched to TK years ago to get *G (had Continental *G at the time). It gives me UA club for free. Also, it is good for 2 years and needs far less miles than UA to renew. As someone easing into retirement, that alone meant I could keep *G for more years than if I had to meet annual UA minimums.

    Last year I flew JFK-IST-TLV on TK in Biz. Very nice hard and soft product, meals and service. (On the long leg). I also got to use up most of my TK miles.

  10. Robert – I guess you just don’t understand that the Superbowl has more non-NFL fans than NFL fans?

    And yes, you and your ilk are generally too stupid to realise you’re being talked down to, or at least are so used to it that you no longer care as you instead choose to revel in your own superiority. America First!

  11. Nemme. the problem with taking Turkish to Europe is distance. You have to fly all way over Europe to get there, and then backtrack several hours. So as nice as their premium cabin and lounge may be, it’s one heck of a long trip compared with changing at, say, Dublin or Helsinki

  12. Was a complete WASTE of money and terrible ad. Probably the worst of the bunch IMHO.

    Horrible actor and obviously put together by some third rate ad agency.

  13. We have flown Turkish 4 times because of their great fares and we actually used their free hotel room which is offered when the connecting flight is the next day. I hope they make it and also hope they will offer the great fares to Europe once again, because that is the only way to attract people like me headed to
    Europe from San Francisco nonstop.

  14. Kudos to Robert Hansen… That’s by far the most coherent write up I’ve ever seen from a Trump supporter. One of his oversights is that the economic engine of the US lies in the blue population centers, and even foreign companies are recognizing that and targeting their messages towards them. I think we are seeing a lot of that these days as brands are forced to pick political sides. It’s not Trump vs. Hillary anymore, it’s Trump vs. the decent rest of the world, and history and business will be on the side of decency, not hate.

  15. Robert Hanson is correct in many ways.
    It was Obama who created ISIS—- by not doing anything. Yeah, a thin red line.
    He was the one who helped create refugees…..along with Russia they starved and murdered thousands of Syrian Muslims.
    Who is the President that did this? Who hates Muslims? Can you think?
    As for Turkish Airlines—didn’t they have a cargo plane go down recently? Turkey is an
    Islamist dictatorship and getting more every week, you all know that. Like Russia and
    Communist China they are jailing dissidents and even murdering journalists in their
    capital cities.
    As for the 84 Lumber ad they do not know that Mexico is fierce when people enter their country from their south. Refugees are put in jail. Wake up snowflakes!

  16. @ Jeffery Marshall –China is not a communist country. The Chinese version of “communism” was a fanstasy that never existed and will never exist. How come people still make this simple mistake? China has been categoried as State Captalism since more than 2 decades ago. 99% of that country’s wealth is being controlled by less than 1% population, do you realy call that “communism”? If you want to make an argument, use facts and correct terms, otherwise it just sounds like “Bowling Green Massacre” level stupidity.

  17. @Robert Hanson
    I usually skip the political rhetoric . . . not here for that . . . but skimmed yours and went back for a full read. Very well written and not the emotional diatribe of some of the less geopolitically informed (those that evidently get their opinions fed to them via MSM) on this platform. Austin may be a blue dot in a mass of red, but go just several miles SW through north of downtown and UT (Berkeley on the Colorado) and its back to the “flyover country” and it’s traditional Texas (and most of America and Canada) values. BTW, immigrated to Texas, from Southern California, a long, long time ago. Felt at home from my first taste of Texas. I did have to move outside the city limits, of the People’s Republic of Austin, as the city property taxes and inflated valuations are chasing long time residents to the “flyover country.”

  18. Haven’t flown Turkish for years: they never come up as a sensible option in my plans. Either too expensive or poor timing or impossibly long transit times. I can’t imagine a compelling reason for choosing them when there are so many more logical options available, nice advertisement notwithstanding.

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