Emirates came up with the marketing stunt of the year in 2021 when they placed a flight attendant on top of the Burj Khalifa to promote the easing of travel restrictions between the UK and the UAE.
The ‘flight attendant’ was actually Nicole Smith-Ludvik, a professional skydiving instructor, in the Emirates uniform. The ad went viral and questions were asked about the authenticity of the stunt, after which, Emirates released a behind-the-scenes video to prove that no special effects were involved.
Now, to promote the Dubai Expo, the airline has raised the bar even further by repeating the stunt with an Emirates A380 aircraft flying past the flight attendant. The 1-minute ad features Nicole Smith-Ludvik standing on top of the Burj Khalifa with a series of message boards that read, “I’m still here. Wow! I can see Dubai Expo. Finally, here come my friends.”
The viewer then sees a Dubai Expo-branded A380 aircraft approaching the Burj Khalifa and flying past Ludvik, resulting in an epic once-in-a-lifetime shot.
Watch the stunt below
The campaign involved meticulous planning with strict adherence to the highest safety protocols. To get the desired shot, the aircraft flew around the Burj Khalifa 11 times at a speed of 145 knots, which is relatively slow for an A380. Watch the BTS video below.
Behind the scenes
Several different agencies, studios, and production companies were involved in the concept, implementation, and execution of the campaign. Every minute detail – from flight time to flight route – was planned down to the inch. Here’s an interesting BTS video from the camera crew in the helicopter that filmed the stunt.
Behind the scenes – Helicopter Camera Crew
In the ad, the plane looks like it’s flying in close proximity to the building, but in reality it was 0.5 miles away and level with the top of the Khalifa. The custom-painted aircraft then flew around Dubai and over the Al Wasl Plaza where the Expo is taking place.
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