Child Warfare: Dogfighting Brothers

A pair of cute kids tries to sell a jet fighter

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The pitched battle over what new warplane Canada should purchase has crossed a new threshold in a subcontractor’s TV ad that features two young boys debating the merits of Boeing’s legacy F-18 fighter and Lockheed Martin’s fledgling F-35 aircraft. Boeing and its suppliers would dearly like Canada to buy cheaper F-18s instead of the more costly F-35s (the Pentagon pays $160 million for the F-35, and $91 million for the F-18).

[Update: A Boeing subcontractor, RaceRocks 3D, produced this video, trying to sway the Canadian government to buy F-18s instead of F-35s. “Boeing had nothing to do with the ad,” a Boeing spokesman said. This post has been corrected.]

The Walton-like kids are sitting on hay bales in Grandpa’s hangar barn when Kid 1 asks Kid 2, “Hey, what did you do with the $10 Grandpa gave you?”

“This beauty,” Kid 2 says, holding up a foot-long F-35 plastic model.

“The new F-35 strike fighter with the super helmet and electronic computer?” Kid 1 asks in wonderment.

“And,” Kid 2 adds, “it’s invisible.”

“But it’s right there,” Kid 1 counters.

Kid 2 doesn’t like where this is going. He tries to change the subject: “What did you buy with Grandpa’s $10?”

“Three Boeing F-18 Super Hornets, with all the latest avionics and 10 years of full Boeing service support,” Kid 1 boasts excitedly, as the camera zooms to the barn floor to reveal a miniature maintenance vehicle pulling alongside the planes, and tiny Boeing workers tending to them.

“Yea, but your planes aren’t invisible,” Kid 2 says, nervously tugging at the nose until a piece apparently comes off in his hand.

“Well, OK,” Kid 1 says. “Wanna have a battle for the skies?”

“No,” Kid 2 says, casting his eyes downward. “It broke.”

The 52-second spot (which suggests it won’t actually be broadcast) ends with the words “It’s really not that complicated” on the screen before fading to black.