Emirates’ latest advertisement shows a cabin crew member in full uniform delivering a message on the tip of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, some 828m above ground. The amazing part is that the ad was filmed without any green screen or special effects, and that she is a genuine member of the airline’s cabin crew, not a professional stunt actor.
The 30-second clip opens with a close-up of the FA holding up message boards in a nod to the famous scene in the 2003 film, Love Actually. The camera then pans out to reveal that she is actually standing at the very top of the Burj Khalifa by Emaar, enjoying (we hope) a panoramic view of Dubai’s skyline.
The building may be tall, but its pinnacle is small, with a circumference space of only 1.2m to pull off the 828m-high stunt. A custom standing platform with an attached pole was built, with the FA attached to the pole as well as two other different points directly to the pinnacle, through a hidden safety harness under her uniform.
A casting call was put out to Emirates’ cabin crew team and while there were some willing and capable candidates, a professional skydiving instructor was brought in to ensure the highest levels of safety. The task involved rigorous planning, training, testing and a strict safety protocol.
Filming started at sunrise to catch the ‘golden hour’ light, and the team, including the main star of the ad, began their ascent to the pinnacle before sunrise. The climb took 1 hour and 15 mins from level 160 of the Burj Khalifa and the team had to scale several tiers and ladders inside a tube to reach the top. The team was at the pinnacle for around five hours, with a drone used to capture the footage in a continuous take to film the complete sequence.
The unnamed brave FA joins only a handful of individuals who have had the privilege to stand at the pinnacle of the world’s tallest building – including Tom Cruise and the Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The advert was filmed, conceptualised and directed by Emirates’ in-house brand team, with the help of Prime Productions AMG, based in Dubai.