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Qatar Airways has released a behind the scenes video of the making of its popular FC Barcelona commercial, The Arrival. Posted on www.qatarairways.com/FCBarcelona, the three-minute video titled The Land of FCB showcases the technology used and the spirit of those involved in the making of the 90-second ad. “As the first commercial partnership in the club’s 114-year history, we knew whatever we did had to be very special,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker. “The Arrival captures the nuances of what it means to be a Barca fan and new details emerge every time you see the ad.”

The creators of the ad were tasked with leveraging the airline’s historic partnership with FC Barcelona in a way that would create a dramatic point of difference with other airline-football sponsorships. The commercial features stunts, stars, animals, children and a host of extras. Qatar Airways also selected five Facebook fans who were flown to Barcelona to appear as extras in the commercial. They are featured in the stadium scene when the commercial’s heroine “Julietta” arrives to take her seat.

The Arrival captures the nuances of what it means to be a Barca fan and new details emerge every time you see the ad

The story line of the commercial centres on Julietta, a Qatar Airways flight attendant touching down in the Land of FC Barcelona. She disembarks a Qatar Airways 777 and takes a journey through the unique Land of FC Barcelona to the famous Camp Nou Stadium. Throughout her adventure Julietta encounters some of the club’s most famous players, past and present, experiences the rich history of FC Barcelona and meets the fans at the heart of the club.

The campaign was shot on location in a number of different countries around the world, including the city of Barcelona, the streets of Doha and inside Qatar’s impressive.

Hamad International Airport, bringing together a mix of high-profile landmarks. In addition, imagined buildings and landscapes were developed using CGI, to create a powerful, artificially-constructed backdrop of the Land of FC Barcelona terminal.

The full range of visual effects techniques were used in over 50 shots, creating more than 20 digital matte paintings by merging cityscapes from around the world. Within the Land of FC Barcelona, artists constructed a huge range of environments, including the airport sequence, much of the architecture and the majority of shots within the city.

The bird’s eye view of the stadium was filmed from a helicopter and a radio controlled camera mounted on an Octocopter (a helicopter with 8 rotors). The environment was then filled with CG buildings, projected matte paintings of roads, moving traffic and detailed lighting effects. The 777 plane was created entirely in CG, using CAD data for an exact aircraft match.

True Barca fans will recognize two unique characters that were added to the story line. Most will notice the giant “Gamper” costume which represents Joan Gamper, (Winterthur, Switzerland, 1877 - Barcelona, 1930) who founded the club in 1899 and was captain of the team. A giant statue of Gamper is featured in the street scene.

FCB icons

FC Barcelona symbol or icon is a person called “l’Avi” which stands for grandfather in Catalan. L’Avi is an old, round-bellied man with a white beard dressed in a Barça T-shirt and shorts. He is the human alter ego of “l’Avi del Barça”, a character created by cartoonist and writer Valentí Castanys on October 29, 1924 for the sports magazine Xut. L’Avi was asked if he would make a cameo appearance in the ad. He was glad to accept and now appears in the festive street scene as the commercial’s heroine, Julietta, walks towards the stadium.

It’s little touches like this in The Arrival that let fans know that much thought has been put into the commercial. That is what The Land of FCB shows viewers.

"The assignment was a very tough one: to create something unique that captures the essence of our relationship with FC Barcelona without being your run-of-the-mill 'sports sponsor' campaign," continued Al Baker. “The Arrival does just that and more. It gives life and personality to the partnership and defines our flight path going forward for the next three years."

The 90-second commercial was launched globally over the internet and on television stations within days of the partnership launch between FC Barcelona and Qatar Airways in Spain on 27 August. To date it has had over 7 million views between both entities’ websites.

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