Etihad Airways reveal 360-degree virtual reality film starring Nicole Kidman

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ABU DHABI // Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman, the global brand ambassador for the UAE’s national airline, is back as the face of Etihad Airways’ latest advertising campaign – a 360-degree virtual reality film to be released on Friday.

The five-minute film, titled Reimagine, will give viewers a panoramic look at the airline's Airbus A380 luxury surroundings following the Australian actress, who became the face of Etihad last year, while she tours the aircraft at it flies between New York and Abu Dhabi.

The 48-year-old says: “The film is a culmination of Etihad’s vision to tell the airline’s story in an extremely innovative way and a commitment to engaging with the public as has never been attempted by an airline before. It was a great challenge but one which has definitely paid off and it was great to be part of such an exciting project.”

The movie, which took six months to produce and was filmed in Abu Dhabi, shows the actress speaking directly to the camera, as she rehearses scenes from the script of a film.

The adventure on the twin-decked aircraft also gives the viewer the chance to interact with several characters, including Kidman’s film director, an opera singer and even an Emirati guest with a falcon in the first-class cabin on the Airbus.

The journey also provides personal interactions with the Savoy-trained butler in The Residence, the airline’s private three-room cabin, plus the inflight chef in first class, the food and beverage manager in business, and the “flying nanny”.

Peter Baumgartner, who took over as as chief executive of the airline this month, said he wanted the clip to reflect Etihad Airways’ latest Flying Reimagined campaign as more than solely an advertising tagline.

“This is a enormous commitment to constantly push the boundaries beyond your expectations,” he said. “We want to share Etihad’s story in a completely new way, using technology to make our consumers a part of the narrative and to experience an Etihad Airways A380 flight first-hand, from any-where.

“The film demonstrates how, as an innovative brand, we continue to break down the barriers of convention and lead the way in intelligent communication and best practice not just in the aviation industry, but [in]marketing, communication and technology.”

Shane O’Hare, Etihad Airways’ senior vice president of marketing, said the latest campaign followed years of hard work.

“In December 2014, we completely reimagined the travel experience with the launch of our new A380 fleet, setting a standard in innovative design, service and technology,” he said. “This was followed in 2015 by a tremendously successful adverting campaign starring Nicole Kidman.

“This immersive VR film is a massive step-change in the way we present the Etihad Airways brand and product to the consumer.

“Based on the success of our recent campaign with Nicole, the decision to take this partnership to the next level was an obvious one.”

The new feature was directed by Anthony Atanasio and Valerie Martinez, who directed Etihad’s first television commercial starring Kidman in the Residence suite on Etihad Airways’s first Airbus A380.