Turkish Airlines appeared during the commercial break of the U.S. National Football League’s (NFL) annual championship game, known as the Super Bowl, for the fifth time. This year, the global carrier’s advertisement was inspired by the first journey to the moon in 1969.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers played against each other at the 54th Super Bowl. After a 50-year break, the Chiefs defeated the 49ers and became champions with a 31-20 score in Hard Rock Stadium, Miami where the Super Bowl took place. The stars of the halftime show were Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Lopez came on the stage with her 11-year-old daughter Emme. NBA star Kobe Bryant was also commemorated during the show. 

The National Football League’s (NFL) final attracts approximately 70,000 people to the stadium and a 200-million-strong audience to the screen every year. 

By hosting stars from the entertainment industry along with sport stars, the Super Bowl attracts a huge audience and becomes a center of attention for companies. The world’s largest brands prepare special commercials for the occasion and share them with their followers worldwide.

One of these advertisements aired for the first time on Super Bowl night was by Turkish Airlines.

This year, the first journey to the moon in 1969 was the source of inspiration for the global carrier’s commercial broadcast on Super Bowl night. Based on statistics that more than a billion people in the world have never traveled outside their country, Turkish Airlines produced a genuine story starring three everyday heroes who cross the borders for the first time in this commercial project. Russell Alan Holmes, Mariha Falconer, and Karlos Kemp starred in the commercial film titled Step on Earth where they explore countries they have never been to before and experience the thrill of stepping into a completely new geography. The film invites all of us to get to know the beauties of our planet by showing us the pleasure of exploration that these protagonists experience during their journeys to countries that they have never before set foot in. The “Step on Earth” adventure begins with a small step forward. Nico Perez Veiga sits in the director’s chair of the film produced by DAVID Miami and DAVID Madrid agencies.

In this new Turkish Airlines commercial film, newspaper headlines about the 1969 Moon landing, the first journey to the moon; the countdown, and the takeoff records of the Apollo 11 mission are shown as Russell, Mariha, and Karlos prepare for their first international flight and board a Turkish Airlines aircraft. In the film, we see that one of the protagonists who journeys abroad for the first time explores the fascinating views of deep caves and gigantic waterfalls within the lush tropical forests, the second protagonist walks through a snowy terrain, and the third is in a desert with wild horses. 

Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee M. İlker Aycı commented on the campaign that has over 10 million views on YouTube and has been mentioned on 532 different news spots in 23 countries by saying, “This film celebrates the spirit of discovery and adventure that permeates all of us, from first-time travelers to lifelong adventurers. In the film, as the airline that flies to more countries than any other airline in the world and which diminishes distances in the endless blue of the sky by building bridges, we highlight that our planet has countless wonders and moments waiting to be discovered. Turkish Airlines encourages you to ‘Widen Your World’ and to discover the rich variety of cultures and landscapes here on Earth.” The film got an “A+” in the advertisement reviews. 

After the broadcast of the commercial Step on Earth at the Super Bowl, Turkish Airlines published a video titled “Behind the Steps” and shared the behind-the-scenes footage along with some details of the lives of Russell, Mariha, and Karlos, who explored the world for the first time.

Russell Alan Holmes

We spoke with the film’s protagonists who stepped outside the North American continent for the first time about how they became involved in this journey and heard their opinions about their trip. 

Russell Alan Holmes lives in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. He said, “I have never ever been outside the United States. I’ve always thought that I would travel but, you know, having a job and putting your kids through college becomes a priority in your life after a while.” Alan told us that he found out about the auditions from his daughter and decided to try his luck with the encouragement of his wife. In the film, we see Alan in the desert among strangers and in an environment where wild horses run free. Alan expresses his experience as “Most people believe if you take the time to get to know them, they’ll want to get to know you too.”  

Karlos Kemp

Karlos Kemp, another protagonist who explores the world in the commercial film, is from San Diego, California. In the behind-the-scenes footage, he explains the truth about why he has never been abroad by saying, “I just never had the opportunity or the time to do so. My three-year-old son is on the autism spectrum and he does not like to be alone.” For Karlos, this call from Turkish Airlines was an opportunity and a source of inspiration and motivation. Underlining the importance of the call, he tells us, “I want to be around people like this. People who are looking to do things better in life… People who want to leave a mark. Everyone deserves to see something different. Life is a lot bigger than the streets of the cities you grew up in. My mind opened up a little bit more. You got to be open to the world because the world is open to you.” The reflections of joy are evident on Karlos’s face as he explores a limitless world covered in white.

Mariha Falconer 

Mariha Falconer from Portland, Oregon is another explorer who had never had the chance to leave the United States. Mariha is a mother of three daughters and as the family’s only provider, she sometimes has to work in two different jobs. Mariha expressed the happiness she felt by this opportunity. “I am very happy because I get to experience this opportunity. One of my sister’s submitted my name without telling me right away and then they contacted me.” Although, at first, she was terrified of being a foreigner and felt scared because she knew nothing of the place she went, she is now happy to have been able to experience something that has awakened some senses within her and increased her confidence.


Turkish Airlines joined the Super Bowl commercial break in 2016 with the ad campaign of the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice movie which was sponsored by the airline company. In 2017, its campaign with Morgan Freeman made a tremendous impact around the world and broke viewing records. In 2018, a commercial film titled Five Senses, which starred famous doctor Mehmet Oz and which was inspired by our inner world, invited viewers to explore the world they live with the slogan “Widen Your World.” And in 2019, famous director Ridley Scott shot a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase sequence for the Super Bowl commercial break, taking place in Istanbul and titled Journey in which he introduced Istanbul and the new Istanbul Airport.

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