Daniel Johns creates soundtrack of new Qantas ad

qantas daniel johns atlasQantas has hired Silverchair front man Daniel Johns to create a soundtrack for its brand and Olympic advertising.

The new work – titled Atlas – was unveiled this morning and will air from Sunday. It follows on from the launch of the new Qantas positioning of You’re the Reason We Fly.

Johns is one of Australia’s most celebrated musicians including winning 21 ARIA Awards. The performance was a collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

It is the first time that Johns has done commercial work of this nature. He said: “I never had a brief before. When Qantas first approached me, I agreed to the project as I was really into the idea of creating a piece of music that represented Australia. I wanted it to sound big, something special. It was a conscious effort to create a good piece of music and not just a jingle. I’ve also wanted to work with the Australian Chamber Orchestra for a long time now so it was great to finally be able to do that. I’m really happy with how the song turned out.”

Qantas’ long running I Still Call Australia Home has not been retired. Marketing boss Lewis Pullen said it would still be used around national occasions, describing the song as a ‘quasi-national anthem.’

The new 90 second, music-only ad, created with Publicis Mojo, Amnesia Razorfish, ZenithOptimedia and Heckler, will run for two to three days before a 60 second commercial will be introduced with a voice over that re-enforces the You’re the Reason We Fly positioning.

Pullen claims the positioning was tracking well. He said: “The reactions are positive. We needed to reframe the conversation about the customer.”

The TVC was shot by director Gary Freedman of the Glue Society for the production company Revolver, with Michael Ritchie as executive producer.

While the current campaign is customer-focused, featuring Australian’s from the coast, the cities and the country, a destination-based TVC will follow.

Pullen said Qantas will also introduce an Olympic treatment for the new ad which will launch in conjunction with the start of the Olympics.

“It features Bernard Tomic, Steve Hooker, Liesel Jones, Courtney Atkinson and Kelly Cartwright, all training for their respective goals and representing the spirit of Australians in London,” said Pullen.

Qantas will welcome home the Olympic team with a public celebration as the squad returns on a plane featuring the boxing kangaroo and the brand’s logo on the tail made up of 22,000 faces of the public which was uploaded from the launch of the campaign. The logo was re-designed by Heckler.

Pullen told Mumbrella an international version of the campaign will carry the same tagline at a later date but with a focus away from TV and on to digital.


  1. Andrew
    20 Jul 12
    12:41 pm

  2. Sounds like the sound track to a horror film.
    Perhaps appropriate

  3. Jack
    20 Jul 12
    1:03 pm

  4. Wow – so much money and effort and talent and the end result is just wall paper.

  5. Rob R
    20 Jul 12
    1:50 pm

  6. After watching the first vid I didn’t think much of the track but by the time I finished watching the third vid it had grown on me. I like the style and I like that Qantas has been bolder. Not sure it’s the right style for them though. It did feel a little “1984” your being watched combined especially with the cold grade.

  7. Dan
    20 Jul 12
    2:09 pm

  8. Congrats on finding so many people who clearly had never seen a plane before.

  9. thisisme
    20 Jul 12
    2:25 pm

  10. I’m struggling to like this piece of music. I want to love it, it is Daniel Johns, Australian Rock Royalty, after all. But there’s something I can’t put my finger on. It feels over stylised, somewhat dark and almost desperate sounding. I don’t doubt a lot of creative and hard work went into this, but I’m not feeling it. Maybe it’s the visuals. They seem too contrived, too staged and obvious. The music almost belongs in an edgy indie film a la Requiem For a Dream.

  11. Nojo
    20 Jul 12
    2:29 pm

  12. Yawn. There is absolutely nothing that makes this an iconic track. Just a boring, repetitive melody. Maybe that suits an airline that is boring and repetitive. What’s the definition of insanity again? 12 months until Peter Allen returns.

  13. Buck
    20 Jul 12
    3:25 pm

  14. hmmm… I understand the agencies plight… how to gloss over an Australian airline abandoning its commitment to using Australian engineers to help Australia in its time of need. Just not sure the Australian public at large are that stupid (yep, I get they need to be competitive)

  15. Arthur
    20 Jul 12
    3:29 pm

  16. This reminds me of the opening to Summer Heights High

  17. Ashley
    20 Jul 12
    3:45 pm

  18. I think it was a beautifully put together piece reflecting the serenity and genuine loveliness that is Australia. Well done Daniel!

  19. Joe
    20 Jul 12
    3:49 pm

  20. Goodbye Qantas… it’s been nice knowing you.

  21. Tbone
    20 Jul 12
    4:22 pm

  22. Shades of Danny Elfman (composer for Tim Burton films), particularly with the choral-like ooohhhing and instrumentals.

    I like it as music, but I get “foreboding”, not “uplifting” from this piece. It’s a definite departure for Qantas – no pun intended.

  23. Mark
    20 Jul 12
    4:23 pm

  24. I honestly didn’t mind it until the 56k modem jumped in for the solo

  25. Sue
    20 Jul 12
    4:38 pm

  26. Daniel tried to bring some classical and softly emotional thing, but like everybody say, dont fit with the idea of an airline…

  27. chris
    20 Jul 12
    5:41 pm

  28. Absolutely love it.

  29. Drogba?
    20 Jul 12
    6:29 pm

  30. Wasn’t there a pitch in which droga won?

  31. Smile
    20 Jul 12
    11:18 pm

  32. Some of my pet sounds are in this piece. I like.

    And for all the nay-sayers … I must say I’ve enjoyed your collective body of musical work over the years. Daniel must be quaking in his boots.

  33. Peter Lynch
    22 Jul 12
    6:10 pm

  34. Yep. Hard to keep singing “I Still Call Australia Home…”when your plane is based in Singapore and serviced in Thailand.
    But I do like the music. Well done, Qantas, for using an Australian musician to create a new work.

  35. Don
    22 Jul 12
    9:54 pm

  36. The problem with getting someone like Daniel Johns on board is that no-one can tell him the job is not up to scratch. This is PR value only.

  37. Phoebe
    22 Jul 12
    10:41 pm

  38. I was too busy being put off by the fact that the visuals gave the sense that a qantas aircraft was flying extremely low to even notice the music when I first saw it.

    It felt like the “customers” were stunned into shock as they witnessed a crash. Either that or some kind of alien invasion.

  39. QFF
    23 Jul 12
    9:32 am

  40. New positioning or just a new campaign idea?

  41. Jack
    23 Jul 12
    12:23 pm

  42. “The new 90 second, music-only ad, created with Publicis Mojo, Amnesia Razorfish, ZenithOptimedia and Heckler . . .”

    So who actually did the ad?

  43. JAMES
    23 Jul 12
    9:35 pm

  44. When will Australians brands get it? you can’t just advertise your way out of the problem anymore. Do something! Do anything!… just don’t make another dull as dogsh*t, expensive, TVC that doesn’t reflect the experience.

  45. Anonymous
    25 Jul 12
    8:20 pm

  46. I agree … It is a complete rip off of summer heights high. Why isn’t Chris Lilley taking legal action?

  47. J
    31 Jul 12
    9:58 pm

  48. How the hell does this sound like Summer Heights? And how does it sound foreboding? It’s just a damn jingle for fuck’s sake. You guys are putting way too much stock into it.

  49. M
    6 Aug 12
    2:54 pm

  50. Not Daniel Johns again… *runs*

  51. AdamS
    6 Aug 12
    3:34 pm

  52. James, you missed the bit where they tell us we like openness. Thanks for that, I don’t need to be told what I like. Is it code for saying we’d like to be open with you but we ‘re not committing to anything just in case Alan has one of his crazy ideas again.
    Not taking away anything from Johnsey’s, he’s an Aussie music legend and I like some of the stuff he’s done with the track, but I find the tone of the script insulting.