This post is presented by Airbnb, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Adventures in Animation: A Different Paris with Airbnb
The world of advertising can be a sticky, sickly place. Illusions of glamour wrought by Madmen aside, it’s an industry not for the faint hearted; but when a company like Airbnb partner with global marketing and advertising heavy weights, it’s a powerful reminder that advertisers wield a unique storytelling tool, and that many lurking within the industry are actually fantastically talented artists. Airbnb’s recently launched campaign A Different Paris, intended to encourage tourism in Paris, particularly in their Asian Market, is a reminder of the countless hours of effort and artistry that can be distilled into a a minute or two of advertising. Head of marketing at APAC, Matthias Schuecking, describes A Different Paris as an attempt to create, “less of an advertising and more of an inspirational piece that people enjoy watching and they want to watch again.”
Opening in live action, the viewer dips in and out of an animated dream-like world through the lens of the advertisement’s protagonist. In a journey through scenes of carousels, flea markets, cafes and plazas, the viewer is pulled into each new enclave and whisked away before getting a firm footing, leaving just enough inspiration to piece together plans for their own Parisian sojourn.
What makes this ad spectacular is the animation. Seemingly simplistic at first, what the viewer is actually watching is a massive multi-level 3D zoetrope. For those readying a new tab to punch “zoetrope” into Google, it’s an old-time entertainment contraption that was popular in the late 1800’s; generally it comprised a sequence of images, spun to produce the illusion of movement. While this may explain the basic premise of a zoetrope, the giant multi-tiered 3D creation made for A Different Paris is a far cry from the simple apparatus of yesteryear. At 3.8 meters across and 1.5 meters high, as well as housing over 1, 600 hand painted figurines, the end product renders Airbnb’s A Different Parisan incredible adventure in animation.
The zoetrope itself is exquisitely detailed and can only truly be appreciated in the English language behind-the-scenes accompaniment to the advertisement, as the original piece gives little indication of the scale and creativity that went into the animation. Conversely, this is both a mark of the incredible design of the contraption and a shortfall of the advertisement itself. That being said, Paris is not the easiest brief for an advertiser: When a city sits atop so many bucket lists worldwide, it’s not so simple to conjure a fresh reverie for a destination that already holds captive the imagination of so many. A Different Paris certainly comes close, and is in the very least an incredible artistic feat.