Ad agencies talk about brave creativity a lot. Rarely do they mean death-defying stunts? Emirates’ newest commercial features a woman (ostensibly an Emirates cabin crew member) standing on the narrow top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building announcing that the UAE has moved to the UK Amber list (no quarantine for visitors). It’s brave on both counts.

The building is 907 meters high. The woman is Nicole Smith-Ludvik, a professional skydiving instructor. She presents a number of cards (in Love Actually fashion) that reveal the new status.

As you might expect, people thought the stunt had been faked. Social media lit up. (Job well done, Emirates.)

It hadn’t.

Emirates responded on Twitter yesterday to the questioning. The airline shared a video, which shows that the 30-second really was filmed with Smith-Ludvik on the top of the world’s tallest skyscraper. It also shared a promise that rigorous planning and strict safety protocols were followed.

In a statement, Emirates also explained that a casting call was put out to Emirates’ own cabin crew team, and “while there were some willing and capable candidates, a professional skydiving instructor was cast to ensure the highest levels of safety”.

Those safety measures included a custom platform with a pole, that was constructed for Smith-Ludvik to stand on. “She has attached to the pole as well as two other different points directly to the pinnacle, through a hidden harness under the Emirates uniform.” The shoot began at sunrise and took about five hours to complete, excluding the one hour and 15 minutes it took for the team to climb to the top.

This Emirates commercial was not faked

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