Alaska Airlines lands on Whidbey Island for television commercial

If you didn’t know better, you might’ve thought that a Hollywood film crew had returned to Whidbey Island.

Instead, a major advertising agency was on the island Thursday shooting scenes for an Alaska Airlines commercial airing in the fall.

Mekanism, the San Francisco-based agency noted for its major campaigns for The White House (“It’s On Us”), Super Bowl, Jim Beam and Axe, as well as the witty Jack Link’s “Messin’ with Sasquatch” commercials, captured footage in Coupeville and Deception Pass State Park.

The shoot in Coupeville took place next to the high school gymnasium just off Terry Road. The building’s brick exterior helped make it resemble a fire station.

A request came in late last month to shoot the segment there, and Coupeville School District Superintendent Jim Shank said he saw no reason not to approve it.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for the town and the school,” Shank said.

Once that portion of the filming was done, the crew packed up and headed to Deception Pass for scenes featuring outdoor activities, the primary purpose for coming to the island.

“It’s a beautiful backdrop,” said Shelley Williams, Alaska Airlines director of brand strategy and expression.

West Beach was one of about three or four different locations used within the park, park Manager Jack Hartt said.

Mekanism, which also is located in Chicago and New York, opened an office in Seattle earlier this year after winning the Alaska Airlines account.

Though Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be part of the ad campaign, his scenes weren’t shot on Whidbey.

“He was here in spirit,” Williams said jokingly.

This is the first major shoot on Whidbey this year, said Sherrye Wyatt, tourism and film liaison for Whidbey and Camano islands.

Last year, Coupeville and parts of North Whidbey were locations for a Nissan car commercial produced by a different company.

Coupeville’s brush with big-screen fame came nearly 20 years ago when scenes for Hollywood films Practical Magic (1998) and Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) were filmed there.

Coupeville also was prominently featured in The War of the Roses, released in 1989.