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The Patron Saint of Superheroes

Chris Gavaler Explores the Multiverse of Comics, Pop Culture, and Politics

Guest blogger, Caroline Drennen.

Unless you live under a rock you know about “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” And you probably remember the advertisements and promotional tie-ins. For the CBS Superbowl pregame one of the leading sponsors for the movie, Turkish Airlines, released two commercials, “Fly to Gotham City with Turkish airlines” and “Fly to Metropolis with Turkish Airlines.” Both commercials are awesome but I personally like the “Fly to Metropolis” one more. Here are ten thoughts that I had while watching the commercial, which for the record I have watched about a thousand times now.

  1. ~Inspirational Music~

The commercial opens up with some inspirational music playing in the background while a narrator with a calm but strong voice tells you about the ~newest~ destination for the “airline that flies to more countries than any other.”

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  1. Maybe I’ll go to Metropolis for my next vacation

As I watched the Turkish Airlines jet fly over Metropolis and saw all the cool details of the city I seriously started wondering if I could go on a vacation there. One of the reasons why this is my favorite ad of all time is that it really looks like a real tourism video and it seriously makes me want to go to Metropolis for my next vacation. I usually hate all of those tacky tourism videos but this commercial left viewers with a sense of magic. (It also probably helps that it’s an imaginary city… but still.)

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  1. Damn that’s a lot like New York…

It takes a few seconds for it to sink in but the skyline that the jet flies next to is nearly identical to the NYC skyline. One of the bridges shown looks like a newer version of the Brooklyn Bridge and a building that appears in several different shots looks like a slightly different, LexCorp version of the Freedom Tower. There are also yellow taxis and at one point we see people sitting at a restaurant outside of the “Metropolis Museum of Modern Art,” which is clearly supposed to be the actual MoMA in New York City.

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  1. It’s like way cleaner though…

At this point I started to second guess myself and tried to convince myself that there was no way it’s actually New York because it was way too clean. There was almost no trash on the streets. No overflowing trash cans, no Starbucks cups littering the ground, and no one dropping their trash on the ground because they’re too lazy to go to the trashcan. It looked like they power washed the streets and sidewalks of New York.

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  1. There’s no pollution either and it’s so sunny! There’s no way this is New York…

It looks like a way happier version of New York. The sun is shining and the air looks so clear and clean. There is one shot in particular that shows a variety of people (bankers, construction workers, moms, kids, etc.) all walking in one spot but they aren’t pushing each other or yelling or flipping each other off. They’re just going about their business. The commercial also has several shots of the sun gleaming off buildings that definitely contributes to the perception of Metropolis as a more perfect version of New York.Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.36.33 PM

  1. Woo! Superman and Clark Kent!

~Major name drop~ This is when it becomes obvious to even the most disconnected people that the commercial is clearly about Superman. The narrator mentions “our heritage” and we are shown a shot of The Daily Planet building and then they mention “our heroes” and we see a statue that looks a lot like the statues of Atlas holding up the world but instead it’s Superman and he is bowing down to the city and holding it up.

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  1. LexCorp and Lex Luther

The main action of the commercial is Lex Luther holding a press conference on top of the unfinished LexCorp building and touting LexCorps “substantial contributions” to the city. It was at this point that I was calling him an obnoxious show off and saying that he has “no chill.” I also started to wonder if he was supposed to represent Michael Bloomberg. The resemblances are uncanny. Mainly that they run (or used to run) these major cities and that their companies donated large sums of money to projects aimed at revitalizing a city. After 9/11 Bloomberg’s company contributed $15 million to the effort to rebuild Lower Manhattan. This definitely brings in some dystopian elements and plays on current fears that corporations will take over or control entire cities/societies.

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  1. ~More Inspiration~

~Visit the city of tomorrow, today~ Super, super corny but definitely hits a note with some people that would make them go and buy a plane ticket right after the commercial was over. This advertisement is definitely imitating a tourism commercial. They hit all the stereotypical elements of a tourism ad.

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  1. Damn Lex Luther back at it again with the white vans (or white suit)

Just kidding about the white vans. But Lex Luther does make another appearance except this time he is sitting first class in a Turkish Airlines jet holding a blue stress ball that makes it look like he has the world in his hand. He very creepily says, “We can’t wait to welcome you.” It seems so sweet but it’s just fake nice. This is when the dystopian vibes come in. Lex Luther looks like an evil genius that is plotting to brainwash us when we visit, or something crazy like that.

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  1. Was this really an Ad for Metropolis? Or was it about New York?

There are so many similarities between the two cities. The commercial also makes it look like they are selling tickets for flights to a perfect New York. Each time I watch the video I find more things that connect Metropolis to New York and it freaks me out a little. It also makes me question the motives of the movie: are they trying to comment on our society? Is this an undercover attack on Bloomberg?

  1. I know I said it would be only ten thoughts but I can’t resist throwing in another and I have to point out how different this is from other airline ads.

Since 9/11 advertisements for airlines have changed a lot. Immediately after the attacks they focused on rebuilding trust with American consumers. They wanted to stop people from associating the attacks with the airlines too much and needed to make sure that 9/11 didn’t completely destroy the industry. American Airlines had to do a lot of damage control and released an entire ad campaign focusing on patriotism and trust after the attacks. But as 9/11 becomes further and further away, ads have started focusing more on customer service and perks instead of rebuilding trust and showing how much they love America. In other Turkish Airlines ads we can see that return to focusing on the perks associated with their company. They also usually incorporate humor into their ads and commonly feature celebrities. Fly to Metropolis though has a very different tone and is much more inline with the ads that were seen immediately following the attacks. The commercial hits a more serious yet optimistic note while also inspiring viewers. That tone is brought out through the ad’s treatment of Superman as an actual hero and not just a comic book character. It is also emphasized through the portrayal of Metropolis, artfully intertwining the story world with our world by making Metropolis so eerily similar to New York. This is one of the best commercials that I have seen. It has a very different tone and overall aesthetic compared to other commercials involving Superman and other contemporary airline commercials.


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