Matthew Miller
Sep 21, 2015

Airbnb builds massive 3D zoetrope to show 'A different Paris'

SINGAPORE - A team led by TBWA/Singapore created a giant rotating sculpture populated with more than 11,000 miniature parts in order to animate a visit to Paris for Airbnb.

Client: Airbnb

Agency: TBWA Singapore

Market: Asia

Name of campaign: 'A different Paris'

Campaign scope: 30- and 60-second videos. Publishers will include Tencent, YouTube, Naver and Yahoo!Japan, as well as social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WeChat.

Details: A team led by TBWA Singapore and including miniature specialists Yippee Ki-Yay and Photoplay Film (both based in Sydney), as well as Singapore's Six Toes TV, created a 3D zoetrope, in which small differences in the placement of miniature objects and figures within otherwise identical scenes create the illusion of motion as the giant mechanism rotates in front of a camera. We beseech you to watch the behind-the-scenes video and read through the jaw-dropping facts below:

  • The zoetrope measures 3.8 meters in diameter, 11.9 meters in circumference and 1.5 meters in height.
  • It went from drawing board to finished structure within a period of three weeks.
  • It has an estimated 11,256 parts including 1,476 figurines.
  • A 16-member crew of miniature modelers, model painters and construction carpenters spent 648 hours painting the miniature models and backgrounds, and another 2,340 hours populating the zoetrope.

The brand employed four different models for the live-action portion of the spot in order to make sure potential customers can see themselves in the French capital.

Press release quote:

Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb CMO: 

Traveling on Airbnb unlocks magical moments—our hosts and their homes create a sense of real belonging for travelers and this feeling is amplified when they discover the city through the eyes of their hosts. This film is showing, in true Airbnb fashion, how the ordinary world can become an altogether different, more magical world.’

Campaign Asia Pacific's comments: The brand is staking out a creative and visual space for itself with intricate miniature-based projects. An earlier ad impressed by showing a train journey through a handcrafted world in a single continuous shot. This project one-ups even that effort by adapting the 19th-century zoetrope technology on a massive scale. In both cases, the resulting dreamlike footage is both uniquely identifiable and perfectly suited to appeal to would-be travelers fantasising about their next trip. We only hope, in this age of computer-generated animation, that enough people understand what they're seeing to truly appreciate it.


Head of Marketing APAC: Matthias Schuecking
Creative Director: Gary Steele
Senior Copywriter: Elrid Carvalho
Senior Art Director: Uni Lee
Group Account Director: Mandy Wong
Account Director: Joyce Wong
Agency Producer: Haydn Evans / Six Toes
Airbnb Producer: Allison Gay
Production Company: Photoplay Films / Six Toes
Director: Norman Yeend
Live Action Director: Scott Otto-Anderson
Executive Producer: Oliver Lawrance & Haydn Evans
Producer: Emma Thompson
Director of Photography: Jonathan Rossiter
Production Designer: Annie Beauchamp
Model Makers: Simon Ingerson / Yippeekiyay
Post Production: Cutting Edge
Post Producer: James Rose
Editor: Simon Njoo
Media Agency: Starcom



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