Following the jump, video of the new Turkish Airlines commercial featuring Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Armenian-American community will be unamused, I’m sure, as was I. Not because of the controversy surrounding it, but because it’s just not very funny.
As you probably know, there was a big to-do last year when it was announced that Bryant had signed a two-year endorsement deal with urk Hava Yollari AO, also known as Turkish Airlines, to be its global brand ambassador. Los Angeles has a huge Armenian-American community (including Lamar Odom’s wife, Khloe Kardashian), and many activist groups are distressed that Turkey has failed to recognize its role in the killings of thousands of Armenians in the early 20th century. Armenian-American groups are also calling for the U.S. to recognize the killings as genocide.
Bryant signed the deal anyway. And oh how clever the first commercial is. A chef serving his meal on a Turkish Airlines flight makes a crack about a missed shot that cost the Lakers a game. So Kobe shoots back, “You cook, and I’ll play. Anyone can cook.” That leads to a predictable montage of the chef playing hoops badly, and Kobe wrestling with a fish that he’s trying to cook.
Let’s not discuss the fact that Kobe is flying to Turkey during the NBA season, or that a chef is out in the aisle serving food. I’d just like to know what Kobe is checking out in the lead photo above. Must be a cultural thing I don’t understand.
Turkish Airlines commercial featuring Kobe Bryant [That NBA Lottery Pick]
Kobe Bryant’s Sponsorship by Turkish Airlines Provokes L.A. Armenians’ Ire [Bloomberg]