Skift Originals

Turkish Airlines celebrates signing Messi with a Kobe Bryant showdown ad

Skift Take

Airline and destination ads might not be sexy on their own, but team them up with sports celebrities or films with a cult following, and suddenly a whole lot more people are paying attention.

— Samantha Shankman

FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi debuts as Turkish Airlines’ new brand ambassador in a video ad that pits him and LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant against each other for a young boy’s attention.

The ad has been a viral success and racked up over 4 million views just one day after it was posted to YouTube. The same ad with Turkish subtitles has already been viewed more than 17,000 times. The ad would fall into spot number three in our list of most viral travel video ads for 2012, but hadn’t been released at the time of compilation.

Bryant has been a brand ambassador for Turkish Airlines since 2011, along with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

“We have held the title of Europe’s Best Airline now for two consecutive years and it makes perfect sense that we align ourselves with the best and most recognizable sports figures in the word,” said a Turkish Airlines board member in a statement.

Turkish Airlines says it currently has 200 aircraft in its fleet and flies to 92 countries, more than any other airline in the world.

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