“Spider-Man: Far From Home” won’t be in movie theaters until July 2 but starting today, fans of the webbed wonder will be able to see Spider-Man in action in United Airlines’ newest in-flight safety demonstration video.
United Airlines, Sony and Marvel worked together to weave the Federal Aviation Administration’s required safety instructions into a fast-paced, short film starring Spider-Man, a trio of villains, and some of Spider-Man’s friends.
“We’ve kept the worlds of Spider-Man and United safety separate, but together,” said Daniel Cuellar, director of global advertising for United. “Crew members, as always, are doing the demos and giving instructions, but there’s an underlying fun Spider-Man aspect to it.”
And some cool special effects.
“That’s the benefit of partnering with Sony,” said United’s Vice President of Marketing Mark Krolick. “We were able to make this safety video with movie theater-style production and effects. It’s not something we usually have the opportunity to do and I think our customers will appreciate the higher production value.”
And, United hopes, pay attention in a world where airlines try to outdo each other with engaging safety videos.
“There is plenty of evidence that learning is more effective when there is play and fun involved, and these videos follow a trend of gamification and entertainment of information,” said Sabrina Habib, a professor of visual communications at the University of South Carolina.
In United’s new safety video, villains cause trouble at the corner store owned by Mr. Delmar (played by Hemky Madera). Spider-Man happens to be nearby and springs into action. He chases the goons into a movie theater, to a park fountain and down a dark alley; captures them all; and leaves them neatly wrapped up in a web with a handwritten note for the authorities that says “All Yours! Gotta Fly. Spider-Man.”
If you pay attention, you’ll notice a framed photo of the late comic book writer and Marvel superhero creator Stan Lee in the store. “Spider-Man” movie character Eugene “Flash” Thompson (played by Toni Revolori) helps to demonstrate safety instructions about putting electronic devices into airplane mode. And, while you may not know who they are, some of the extras in the video are people who bid their MileagePlus miles for a chance to be part of the project.
Spider-Man’s alter ego, Peter Parker, has a best friend, Ned (played by Jacob Batalon), who is in line outside a movie theater when Spider-Man streaks by, chasing a goon into the theater. They also race by a man walking down the sidewalk, played by none other than United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz.
“Wow, that must be some good movie,” says Munoz.
“Yeah, I hear the best friend’s hilarious,” replies Ned.
During filming of the street scene outside the classic Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles this past January, Munoz was having fun bantering with the production crew and was good-natured about the multiple takes.
Off the set, there was an upcoming earnings report and the impact the partial government shutdown was having on the airline industry to think about, but Munoz felt taking time to do this safety video cameo was important.
Besides being fun for him to do, “It brings an awareness that while United is incredibly serious about issues of safety and operational reliability, we are also ‘the friendly skies’ and we want to be friendly and fun. I think this gives us that narrative,” said Munoz.
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