Airbnb global campaign journeys through a handmade world

Airbnb "Welcome to Airbnb" by TBWA/Singapore.
Airbnb "Welcome to Airbnb" by TBWA/Singapore.

The crowdsourced rental service retained TBWA/Singapore to create a magical miniature

Seeking to explain its service to wider audiences, Airbnb has launched a global campaign that takes viewers on a remarkable train journey through a lovingly handcrafted miniature world — in a video produced in a single, continuous shot without computer graphics.

The campaign: The new video campaign sets out to educate viewers about Airbnb, portraying the world as small and encouraging people to explore and discover. The campaign will be launched on digital channels including Youtube, Youku and Facebook, and will be amplified in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, as well as through cinema placements in select markets.

To produce the video, 30 people spent five weeks building an 85-square-meter train set, with more than 2,400 craftsmen-hours spent creating the landscape. The work used 20 square meters of plywood, 12 liters of glue and more than 160 sheets of polyboard.

The journey also features real Airbnb listings based on actual "superhosts" who use the service. The Airbnb marketing teams in Singapore and San Francisco worked together with TBWA/Singapore, Six Toes TV Singapore and Cirkus production in Auckland, New Zealand, to create the film. 

Fun facts from the press release:

  • "Welcome to Airbnb" was shot in a 40-by-40-meter warehouse in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Nine "Cirkus artists" manually moved all the transitions by hand as the train traveled along the full length of the track.
  • The castle was made through 3-D printing and hand painted, brick by brick.
  • Miniature modellers and painters created more than 100 unique trees, more than 60 hand-cut houses and 240 tailor-made miniature flowers, grasses and shrubs.
  • The team made 96 figurines, including six miniatures of real Airbnb guests and two dogs.
  • Although the final ad is a single shot, the making-of video (below) reveals that it took the team 85 takes to get it right.

Quote: Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO Airbnb: "As you board the train in this film, you’re transported into a magical world that represents the very heart of Airbnb. As you wind your way through some of the amazing listings Airbnb has to offer, you get a different perspective on the world. With each viewing, you see something unique and interesting that you didn't notice before, mirroring the experience that many people have when they travel with Airbnb."

Comments: With CGI and tech wizardry so common in video and creative work, we have to applaud the teams on this brilliant feat of craftsmanship. The handmade feel and flow of the video is great to watch, and we love the fact that it features real places, homes, people and dogs.

Check out the making of the video: 


Campaign credits

Client: Airbnb
Agency: TBWA Singapore
CDs: Gary Steele, James (Jexy) Holman
ECD: Edmund Choe
AD: Nuno Pestana Teixeira
ACC team: Nirmalo Wilkes, Joyce Wong, Neha Sethi
Set production: Cirkus
Co-directors: Christian Greet, Norman Yeend
Storyboarding: Dylan Coburn
Concept art: Laura Dubuk
Producer: Ringmaster Marko Klijn
Production manager: Zara Hayden
Production assist: Puteri Raja Ariff
DOP: Christian Greet, Andrew McGeorge
Lighting: Christian Greet, Gracie Spence
Model making and design: Norman Yeend, Justin Buckingham, Dion Boothby, Barry Down, Tim Wells, Philip Stokes, Ashley Turner, Henric Matthiesen, James Turnbull, Joon Yoon, Priyan Jayamaha, Kurt Adams, Nynne Mors, Matt Ramsay, Simon Coles, Romain Borrel, Thomas Bozovic, Marion Angebault, Quinn Klijn
Production: Sixtoes Singapore
Executive producer: Haydn Evans

This article first appeared on

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