Ad Review: Kobe vs Messi: Legends on Board – Turkish Airlines

I guess it’s bad form to start off a Blog category that features reviews of basketball-related product advertisements with a blatantly non-basketball ad, but it does feature the best active basketball player on earth, Kobe Bryant (quiet down, you), so…here we go.

This ad, released December 6th, 2012 for Turkish Airlines, starts off with a young boy carrying some kind of weird Turkish Airlines-branded ball, stepping into what I think is supposed to be First Class. I think it’s First Class because, well, in what other class would our yet-to-be-seen superstars be seated in? At the same time, if that is indeed First Class, what class is the little boy walking in from?  The cockpit?

In any case, the boy is surprised shocked to see an adidas sweatsuit-wearing Lionel Messi sitting there, apparently sketching something in his notebook. He nervously hands him that weird ball in hopes of an autograph, but is then distracted by the ever-competitive Black Mamba (fittingly dressed in all black) who has had his fair share of competitive Turkish Airline flight experience in the past. Never one to be upstaged, Kobe tries to lure the kid over and get him to ask for his autograph by spinning another weird ball on his finger. The kid, already feeling good in this little Mexican stand-off and not nearly impressed enough, looks back at Messi as if to say “your turn”, and throws the weird red ball back to him. Messi proceeds to do some pretty underwhelming in-seat soccer tricks (underwhelming compared to his past work, of course). It looks like the kid has fallen for Messi’s trickery and is about to get his autograph, but, alas, Kobe displays his basketball finger-spinning skills yet again, luring the kids away from Messi for the second time, and proceeds to carry out even more underwhelming in-seat soccer tricks. The kid is impressed, but the sight of Messi playing around with two (!) soccer balls is too much, and he walks back, ready to get Messi’s autograph.

The two superstars vying for this kid’s attention continues back-and-forth and goes on to include houses made of cards and balloon animals. All tricks, while gradually becoming more and more impressive, are no match for the awkward stewardess flight attendant’s offer of fruit-covered ice cream. He immediately throws his weird ball on the floor of the plane (which, as a nervous flyer, I feel is quite dangerous…) and take a (his?) seat.

Kobe, who for the first time in his life admits defeat, concedes victory to ice cream. Messi follow suit, and, as the two heroes look on confused and distraught, the kid sits back and enjoys what better have been the best tasting ice cream ever made, ever. We are then told Turkish Airlines is Europe’s best airline and that the “best” fly with them. (Not the best Kobe or Messi fans, that’s for sure…)

Nice idea and nice execution. Obviously, Turkish Airlines went all-in, getting 2 of the most recognized names in (the history of) international sports to star in their campaign and appealing to a very wide and global audience. Who knows how much this cost them, but, looking at the views so far (21 million in just over 4 days), you could say they got their money’s worth. Well done.

Some questions I have:

-When was the last time Kobe and/or Messi flew commercial, by choice?

-When is the next time Kobe and/or Messi will fly commercial?

-That area of the plane looks awfully desolate, no?

-Messi, one of adidas’ leading spokesman, is rocking adidas, while Kobe, one of Nike’s top icons, isn’t rocking any Nike gear. I wonder of adidas paid to have their product featured?

-How on earth does Turkish Airlines have the cash to pay both Kobe and Messi?

-Ugh, that flight attendent is the worst. Is her audio out of sync? Couldn’t cast a better actress? Really?



  1. Shadowgummy says

    No more soccer references please. Just as no one outside of the USA knows how to play basketball, no one in the United States cares about soccer. I am surprised I even cared enough to write such a long comment.

  2. Shadowgummy says

    Well, I differentiate “basketball” from “girly basketball.” There have been some fine examples of great girly ball coming from over-seas (Minute Bol jacking up threes, Vlade taking smoke breaks during practice, Detlef Schrempfs flat-top hair cut) but no real basketball.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *