I recently wrote about United’s new ad campaign, which represents a tapestry of instruments from around the world weaving together Rhapsody in Blue. But keen observers have fairly questioned whether United knows the difference between China and Japan.
As you watch the video, notice the man playing the trombone while walking down a bamboo-lined path as text on the screen flashes Chicago and then Shanghai:
China is certainly home to a lot of bamboo. But not this particular bamboo, an iconic path and popular tourist destinations in Kyoto, Japan called Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
China and Japan have had a strained relationship in the past, making the (likely) confusion particularly unfortunate.
For reasons I cannot explain, United is digging into its insistence that this was filmed in Shanghai. On Twitter, it cited “marketing” as the authoritative source.
Hi Will, we just wanted to let you know that we've followed up with Marketing, and have confirmed that the bamboo forest pictured on our recent ad is indeed in Shanghai. Thanks again for reaching out yesterday. ^EM
— United Airlines (@united) November 5, 2018
But it wasn’t. I’m sorry, it simply wasn’t. While the Bamboo Forests of Anji (outside of Shanghai) look similar, this path looks strikingly familiar to Kyoto.
United reached out to me to clarify the situation:
Just wanted to let you know that the bamboo forest in this shoot is fictional, but was inspired by various bamboo forests in and around Shanghai. It is not meant to represent one specific forest, but be representative of the various bamboo forests travelers will find in Shanghai.
The mystery is solved. It’s just a set…
Offensive? I’m not sure that is the right word. But imagine pointing out the beautiful Taj Mahal…is in Pakistan. Somehow this classic United ad from the 1980’s comes to mind:
But the mystery is now solved. It’s just a set.
> Read More: United Airlines Launches Impressive New Ad Campaign
I was just in Kyoto and double checked with my pictures from Arashiyama and although very similar, it’s not it. Still not sure if it’s Shanghai –
I don’t know about all this bamboo stuff, but I loved seeing that fabulous 747 and hearing Gene Hackman’s voice again.
Just like the Chinese to steal beautiful scenery and make their own cheaper, poor quality copy. It’s the Chinese way.
Just like Americans with food? I’d imagine Chinese ppl laughing at General Tso’s Chicken and Italians at American pizza and pastas the same way
I agree with Antonio.
Was in Arashiyama last month. My photos don’t match exactly what you show here though very similar. Especially the railing. Might be a different path I didn’t take.
However, when you google “China Bamboo Grove”, it’s plenty of Arashiyama photos. Couldn’t find anything in China similar to this
This is *definitely* Kyoto. Maybe people commenting above are confused because United messed with the color a bit, but this is definitely, absolutely, without-a-doubt Kyoto.
Not sure why United didn’t just admit they goofed.
Plenty of “bamboo garden” in shanghai that will look similarly enough. Marketing is marketing, doesn’t have to adhere 100% to the truth. Doesn’t Hollywood use Chinese actor in Geisha movie? what is wrong with using Kyoto photo to show something that is similar enough in Shanghai? And what about “strained relationship” between Japan and China? haven’t you gotten the memo? Japan and China are once again best buddies now, in the era of Trump.
Chinese housing developments are famous for copying themes and landmarks from other nations (think English Village, Palace of Versailles, etc.). Totally conceivable there is a very similar ‘Arashiyama’ in China.
“Just wanted to let you know that the bamboo forest in this shoot is fictional, but was inspired by various bamboo forests in and around Shanghai. It is not meant to represent one specific forest, but be representative of the various bamboo forests travelers will find in Shanghai.”
LMAO! No, United, it was “inspired” by the bamboo forest in Kyoto! Give me a break…
Yeah, watching this video, I did not mistake the bamboo forest depiction to be that of Kyoto’s Arashiyama bamboo grove. I was just there. The bamboo itself was too bright in colour, the path appeared narrower, and the natural “railing” appeared much lower in the video than the real thing in Kyoto. Whether it’s an accurate depiction of one or several forests in Shanghai, I don’t know since I have not been there yet. All I know is that I did not mistake it for Arashiyama.
WHO TF IS THE MAN? I AM ON A WILD GOOSE CHASE AND AM IN NEED OF ANSWERS. HE IS AN AMAZING TROMBONIST. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.