British actor Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean, Johnny English) is the current star in a commercial for the UAE telecommunications network Etisalat.
What began as a mysterious film trailer for something called The Network turned out to be a full-fledged advertisement for the company.
The premise of the comedic ad is that Agent One (Atkinson) must find a location in the UAE that doesn’t have network coverage in order to receive his assignment. He travels to the top of the Burj Khalifa, deep into the Abu Dhabi desert and even underwater in Fujairah but fails to lose his signal, and thus never receives his mission.
The commercial filmed over three months in the UAE. Some additional green screen filming was done at Elstree studios in the UK, known as the James Bond production stage.
The Network, which has been online for two weeks, was viewed more than 3.5 million times on YouTube.
As well as starring Atkinson, the ad was directed by British writer-producer Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, AVP: Alien vs Predator, Death Race).
It was executed by the advertising agency Caviar, which launched in 1999 in Kuwait. Caviar recently opened an office in the UAE as part of its plans to expand in the Middle East.
Caviar managing director Marwan Saab praised Etisalat for “their willingness to take a risk on such a non-traditional approach. Working together, we were able to really deliver an amazing visual experience and a very entertaining story.”
Atkinson joins other famous faces recruited by UAE-based companies for advertisements, including Jennifer Anniston for Emirates Airlines and Nicole Kidman for Etihad Airways.