United's 15-Minute Ad Recreates the Misery of Waiting in Line at the Airport
Waiting in line at the airport to speak to an airline representative is nothing short of soul-crushing. There's gotta be a better way to speak to a person and resolve an issue without stress sweating around strangers as your lower-back screams remind you of its existence.
United Airlines believes it has the solution in Agent on Demand, a service that allows customers to speak to a live human via phone or app, to settle issues and skip dreaded airport lines.
With help from 72andSunny Los Angeles, the airline created a 15-minute ad and used YouTube's "Skip Ad" feature to demonstrate how Agent on Demand works.
The video begs, pleads and pushes viewers to skip the ad, like one could skip the airport line, and gain extra minutes of peace, serenity and productivity. Those who don't skip are treated to a customer service desk—definitely not United's—with a long line of tired, impatient customers slowly moving forward.
"Our greatest inspiration was your classic miserable airport line," say Lulu Wimberly and Kailey Riggen, creative team at 72andSunny. "There's nothing worse than being stuck in one and there’s no better feeling than skipping one, thanks to United's Agent on Demand feature. So we wanted to literally simulate the experience of skipping a line by subverting 'skippable pre-roll' to make it happen. And to make it super skip-worthy, let's up the ante to make it 15 minutes long—with Easter eggs, of course."
"Wish you had a 'Skip Ad' button for airport lines? Thanks to United, now you do," says a voiceover.
The Agent on Demand feature appears onscreen, explains the process and asks why people are still watching the ad. If you do watch the video, you'll see random lines onscreen like "If you're watching this, I'm officially worried about you," "You could have booked a flight on United by now" and "You deserve better than this incredibly boring ad. We actually suffered making this."
Fifteen minutes seems like a long duration for an airline ad, but did you see this two-hour airline ad for an airline from 2019?
"The most fun in creating this was figuring out the most absurd prompts to yell out over the intercom to solicit reactions from the line-waiters," the creative pair tells Muse. "The most challenging was apologizing profusely to our amazing extras for the most boring day on set!"