A recent and very top secret project we have been working on a PetLondon Models HQ was a multi-cat job involving some very unusual requests! The assignment involved a large group of friendly felines needed for filming on actual airplanes at an Airport.
This job was for both Thomas Cook Airlines and its sister Airline, Condor. The airlines wanted some cats to test out the comfort of their new Airbus 330 and Boeing 767 and to create entertaining, promotional viral videos. The resulting footage and images were to become part of the #CatsOnAPlane campaign. The campaign, which launches as part of a wider advertising initiative for Thomas Cook Airlines in both the UK and Germany, aims to highlight the airline’s belief that customers “deserve better” when flying on their hard-earned holidays.
Travelling with animals by air, especially with cats is very difficult when you live in the UK so this was a unique and one-off experience for some of our models to try out being in the actual cabin of a plane!
The initial brief was very detailed. There were ten roles up for casting and PetLondon Models was asked to help suggest cats for each position. Each character we had to fill had a brief about their individual personalities. We studied the storyboards and cross-checked these against our books to see who would be fitting for each role. In the end a variety of options went over to the client for each of the characters to be cast and they then had the difficult decision of selecting the final few. For many jobs there is strong competition for each position and behind the scenes the clients are often choosing between a few animals for each role.
Once word was in of the clients final choices, the excitement began for many of our cats and handlers. The filming schedule spanned nearly a full 24-hour period. Travel arrangements and schedules had to be carefully planned in advance and practise began for each cat to get used to what they would need to do on set.
First up we had Starina. She was chosen for the role of “Princess Pamper”. Having worked with Starina on many previous occasions we certainly agree this was the perfect character for her to play! “Princess Pamper (Pamps to her friends) is a lover of the finer things in life.She was chosen because she’s renowned for her demanding demeanor.For Pamps to be happy she requires a certain set of guidelines to be adhered to. If all her needs are met, it’s a smooth ride for everyone”
Starina is a very easy-going cat who is used to going on lots of outdoor adventures. It was her first time on a plane but she took everything in her stride and took some time to select her favourite seat!
Starina Settles Into Her Preferred Seat
Starina enjoyed looking out the window and meeting all the crew on set. Once it was time to get filming, she was as ever, ready to perform for the camera! This sweet girl has the most stunning eyes, one blue and one green.
Here is the final footage of Starina’s filming that we are delighted to be able to share with you. The online ad shows Starina relaxing on Thomas Cooks newly refurbished A330 and has subtitles to show what she might be thinking.
Next, was the role of “The Stray Siblings”. There were several litters in the running for this position but in the end it was six adorable Chausie brothers and sisters who were selected by the client. Only three were used in the footage but they took the filming in turns and this enabled the babies to get some rest in between the swaps. They loved all the excitement though and could not get enough of their first big adventure!
“Ben, Jane and Alice Stray are 3 siblings. They’re well known as the toughest, most challenging and rowdy bunch of testers… and they know it. They know how to push the buttons of cabin crew and how to truly stress test the friendly customer service.”
The Chausie Kittens enjoyed all the excitement of exploring somewhere new
Here is their final footage. As you will see, these babies truly enjoyed themselves, having time to explore and play, watch some in-flight entertainment and then after all that excitement, taking a nap with their teddy bear!
Next was the very distinguished Zinedine. Zinedine (nickname Zinny) was cast as “Quality Ken”. “Quality Ken is a total cynic, he’s hard to impress and he knows it. He plays his cards close to his chest – he hates to show anyone what he’s really thinking… even if it’s good!Ken’s lived a quiet life, he’s the eldest of 18 brothers and sisters…always the most reliable. He doesn’t often let his hair down. Ken is one of those cats who’s ashamed of his feline instincts. Behaving cat-like demeans the air of authority he has worked so hard to achieve.”
Zinny is a six year old male Persian from London. He is very confident with being an actor and enjoys meeting new people or trying new experiences. Arriving at the airport he was not phased by the hangar but did appreciate a cosy blanket to snuggle up in.
Waiting Patiently for the Camera Crew to get ready….
Sweet Zinny is a most expressive cat and his film reel certainly demonstrates this and entertains viewers about the airlines newly refurbished fleet. He was so cosy and happy in his seat that he was quite miffed when it was time to leave!
Finally we had brothers Orpheus and Ryder. These Norwegian Forest Cats are the best of friends. They enjoy to do everything together and so this was a perfect opportunity for them to be side by side. They were both working on the Condor Plane.
Orpheus played the role of “Captain”. Captain is a more senior role and he is a well versed flyer who has flown with Condor for a lifetime. He enjoys the welcome and warmth hwereceives on every flight. Orpheus performed like a true pro as he quickly settled into the new environment and relaxed into his comfortable seat.
One lucky cat was chosen to travel business class and this was Ryder! With his stunning pure white coat he looked very elegant in his oversized and reclining seat and was able to fully stretch out. He even managed to operate the controls himself.
This project was a delight to work on for all the handlers, crew and animals involved. As a special sneak peak we have some behind the scenes footage to be able to share with you if you have have ever wondered how on earth his all gets put tougher
The fabulous collection of viral ads are currently being promoted across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Tom Morey, senior group marketing manager at Thomas Cook Airlines, said: “No-one can assess comfort like a cat. They’re the hardest customers to please, which is why we wanted to test our new interiors with the best. And the results left the cautious kitties feline great.”