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United Airlines To Unveil New Super Bowl Ad in Stop Motion

Business travelers watching the Steelers and Seahawks battle for the coveted Super Bowl title will be inspired to charge the boardroom and challenge corporate foes with United as their ally. The first United Super Bowl ad in more than a decade and its first to use stop motion, DRAGON, will debut during the Feb. 5 Super Bowl XL game, just prior to the start of the much-anticipated halftime event. The television advertisement will appear in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Set to one of the most dramatic variations yet of George Gershwin's RHAPSODY IN BLUE, the new 60-second ad (directed by Jamie Caliri of Duck Studios) alludes to the obstacles and successes business travelers face and United's commitment to enabling their personal and work-life success.

"We wanted our ads to depict the life experiences of our frequent business travelers in a thoughtful and differentiated way," said Dennis Cary, United's svp, marketing. "The quality and uniqueness of DRAGON'S innovative animation technique helps us to achieve our goal of making that special connection with our most valued customers."

"A parent's business trip seen through a child's eyes seemed like rich creative territory," said Stuart D'Rozario, group creative director with Fallon, the agency behind several award-winning United ads. "The puppets and stop motion animation style allowed us to tell the story and express the emotion in a really unique way."

Each figure and element of the set was hand-painted and individually assembled, including the installation of small hinges for movement before being brought to life through the complex, seven-month filming process. Puppets were "rigged" to the set and the camera shot each of the 1,440 individual frames to create movement. Following filming, the rigs were digitally removed from the animation.

Fallon Worldwide (, one of the world's most critically acclaimed, creatively driven branding companies, manages the consumer voice of some of the world's leading brands, including Citi, Sony, Nestle Purina, Nordstrom, TIME MAGAZINE, United Airlines, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car. Fallon Worldwide is a global network of Publicis Groupe, based in Paris, and has more than 500 employees worldwide. The company has full-service offices in Minneapolis, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

Duck Studios (, which specializes in 2D and 3D animation, graphics and design work, is located in Los Angeles.