Chapman Freeborn blog

Private jet manufacturers look to Hollywood to boost sales

With business aviation still feeling the turbulence of a global recession and awaiting a rebound in private jet sales, some manufacturers are turning to celebrity brand ambassadors in the hopes a sprinkle of Hollywood stardust will boost their fortunes.

Brazilian jet maker Embraer Executive Jets recently premiered a short film featuring the actor Jackie Chan to promote the new Legacy 500 private jet. The 6-minute film Unbelievable mirrors Hollywood alien-attack blockbusters such as Men in Black and treats the private jet as a UFO.

As an official brand ambassador for Embraer, the popular Kung Fu performer also has his own Legacy 650 private jet which features a unique ‘Jackie’ motif on the tail (pictured below).

Embraer are banking that Hong Kong-born Chan adds the necessary star power to further the company’s growth in emerging business aviation markets like China.

Bombardier Business Aircraft also uses brand ambassadors extensively including John Travolta. The American movie icon has been on board with Bombardier since 2011, and he is the Canadian manufacturer’s most famous Challenger 601 jet pilot.

An aviation fanatic, Travolta holds 11 different aeroplane licences and has even been working as a test pilot in support of certifying the new mid-sized Challenger 350 jet. Back on promotional duties at EBACE 2013 private jet show in Geneva, he told reporters “it’s like a homesick angel.”

Bombardier has served up an array of other brand ambassadors including tennis ace Novak Djokovic, architect Frank Gehry and classical pianist Lang Lang, while Gulfstream’s high-profile private jet users include Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey.

However, Cessna’s recent brush with a celebrity client made international headlines for an unusual reason when Justin Bieber landed himself in trouble with German customs authorities earlier this year.

The star took his pet capuchin monkey Mally on a hired Cessna Citation X private jet and arrived in Munich without the necessary paperwork, leading to the animal’s confiscation and transfer to an animal sanctuary.

While Mally’s unlikely to land himself an official brand ambassador role any time soon, the world’s media love a celebrity private jet story.

Reporting: Anna Montgomery