Actor George Clooney has shared that he turned down $35 million to film a one-day airline ad, but refused to to name the airline. However, he has offered us some clues.
George Clooney Turns Down $35 Million To Film Airline Ad
Speaking to The Guardian about his new film, The Tender Bar, Clooney responded to a question about whether he now has enough money with a small anecdote:
“Well, yeah. I was offered $35m for one day’s work for an airline commercial, but I talked to Amal about it and we decided it’s not worth it. It was a country that, although it’s an ally, is questionable at times, and so I thought: ‘Well, if it takes a minute’s sleep away from me, it’s not worth it.’”
(Clooney married his wife Amal, a human rights attorney, in 2014)
So which airline could it be? I feel confident narrowing the list down to the following six carriers:
Clooney directly linked the country to the airline, so it’s safe to assume that this is a state-backed carrier or at least a flag carrier.
By process of elimination, I don’t think El-Al or Etihad would spend that kind of money for a celebrity endorsement (Etihad paid millions to Nicole Kidman, but is just a shell of its former self). Why El-Al? Amal Clooney has publicly expressed concern over the treatments of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Qatar has not historically sought celebrity endorsements for Qatar Airways, though Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup next year.
Saudia certainly represents a “questionable” ally and the carrier is working very hard to rebrand itself and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a high-quality, tourist-friendly destination.
Turkish Airlines has used celebrities like Morgan Freeman and Dr. Oz in past ads, but Amal has been a strong proponent of Armenian Genocide recognition: I cannot imagine Clooney would really need to check with his wife over doing an ad for Turkish, though I would imagine $35 million is tough to turn down even for a very rich celebrity.
But I agree with One Mile At A Time that the most likely option is Emirates. Emirates paid Jennifer Anniston $5 million for an ad many years ago and spends millions on marketing. It also has a strong incentive to draw back international traffic while U.S. carriers slowly restore longhaul flights.
Paddle Your Own Kanoo notes that The National, the state-owned English language newspaper in the UAE, reported on the story, but did not mention the reason Clooney turned down the work.
George Clooney turned down $35 million to film a one-day airline commercial. He claims after consulting with his wife the two decided it was not worth it due to the questionable conduct of the country involved. He has refused to name the airline.
All I can say is that I wish I valued a good night’s sleep at $35 million…
image: Nicolas Genin