Emirates is giving viewers with acrophobia something to sweat about.
The airline has posted a clip of a stuntwoman wearing the Emirates full uniform holding a message board atop Dubai's Burj Khalifa. At over 2,700 feet, the skyscraper is one of the highest locales for an ad ever filmed, according to the company.
Emirates shared a behind-the-scenes look of the 30-second clip on its Instagram account. It is also posted on the airlines’ YouTube channel and across other social media channels.
The stuntwoman joins only a handful of individuals who have stood at the pinnacle of the building -- including Tom Cruise and the Crown Prince of Dubai.
The airline said it conducted the stunt to show how it is “always pushing boundaries” whether through its service, product, marketing, or advertising, says Tim Clark, Emirates Airline president.
“The calm and confidence of the cabin crew you see in the ad is an embodiment of our frontline team, serving travelers and ensuring their safety,” Clark says in a release.
The ad was conceptualized and directed by Emirates’ in-house brand team with the help of Prime Productions AMG, based in Dubai. It is running in the U.K., and will be adapted for several markets across the Emirates network, incorporating relevant messages for different audiences.
It opens with a close-up of the woman holding up message boards in a nod to the famous scene in the 2003 movie “Love Actually.”
As the camera pans out, audiences soon find that the crew member, with her iconic red Emirates hat and uniform, is actually standing at the very top of the Burj Khalifa, giving audiences a panoramic view of Dubai’s skyline.
The ad was filmed without any green screen or special effects and was the result of rigorous planning and a strict safety protocol, according to the airline.
A casting call was put out to Emirates’ very own cabin crew team and while there were some willing and capable candidates, a professional skydiving instructor, U.K. stuntwoman Nicole Smith-Ludvik, was ultimately chosen.
A custom platform with an attached pole was built at the top for Smith-Ludvik to stand on. She was attached to the pole as well as two other different points directly to the pinnacle, through a hidden harness under the Emirates uniform.
Filming started at sunrise to catch the golden hour light and the production team, including the star, began their ascent to the pinnacle before sunrise. The climb took one hour and 15 mins from level 160 of the skyscraper, 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 5 hours. A single drone was used to capture the footage in a continuous take to film the complete sequence.