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Sinking a plane

Sinking a plane — How United got whales to swim through the cabin of a 747

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If you’ve seen the new United Airlines commercial, you might’ve wondered how they got orcas to romp through a 747’s cabin. Easy: That’s not a plane, those aren’t whales, and that’s not water. The feat took six model planes and two robotic 70-pound whales. The water? Just elaborate lighting. Bud Watts, creative director at Leo Burnett Co. in Chicago, says the agency considered sinking a model 747 in a tank and sending in the big mammals, but real whales posed a control problem. As it was, the ad took five months to make, with each whale movement requiring six hours to shoot.

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