Airbnb calls on Cirkus for elaborate hand-made ad

Airbnb has made some quality ads in its time, with everything from the charming and inventive crowd-sourced film Hollywood & Vines to the rather enticing spot for its recent—and slightly controversial—rebrand. And now it’s made another stunner with the help of Kiwi animation house Cirkus. 

Led by TBWA and Sixtoes Singapore, ​​Christian Greet and Norman Yeend led a team of 30 that created a miniature 60 second train ride to show viewers when they use Airbnb while travelling, it makes the world that little bit smaller. 

As it says in a release: “To tick all of the boxes for Airbnb’s target market, Cirkus needed to ensure that the journey would be whimsical, dreamlike, artistic and fantastic, just as travelling can be. With this aesthetic in mind, the team settled on a hand/home made approach utilising out-of-the-box mechanical transitions to take the viewer from one environment into the next. This train ride has been filmed as one long take, with everything happening in-camera without the use of any CG imagery.” 

Cirkus, which, like some other Kiwi animation houses, has been doing a lot of work in the Asian market recently, moved from its offices to a warehouse in Wairu Park for the six-week project and, by the end of it, they had dealt with 1602m of plywood, 300qm of polystyrene and 12 litres of glue, amongst other things, to complete the 852m set.

As it says on the Cirkus blog: “For the most part, the sets’ detailing was painted, cut out, glued and/or sprayed on by an army of art directors and set designers. Another technique we played around with was projection. Rather than putting together a small metropolis with 3D printed skyscrapers or lighting the city with miniature street and office lights, we created a digital layout of a city at night and projected it onto white cardboard cutouts. We also utilized 3D printing to create the fantastical castle.”


Cirkus Team
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 @ Glasshammer, 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 Borrell, Thomas Bozovic and Marion Angebault, and Quinn Klijn.
The Making Of – Sandesh Codhadu

Production Company: Sixtoes Singapore
Executive Producer – Haydn Evans

Agency: TBWA Singapore
Creative team: James “Jexy” Holman, Nuno Pestana Teixeira, Gary Steele and Edmund Choe
Account Director – Nirmalo Wilkes, Joyce Wong

Client: Airbnb
Matthias Schueking
Rachel Holbrook

Music: Platinum & Rye/Oliver Daldry

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