Optus Whale Song

Australian telecommunications company Optus asks the question, “What if you could write a love song for a whale, and an orchestra went out into the ocean to play it?” Film director David Denneen worked with composer Bruce Heald and a specially selected chamber music group to perform music that both whales and humans could appreciate.

Optus Whale Song orchestra watching humpback whale

An orchestra was placed on a barge with film crew and sent out to serenade the whales, emulating the sounds made by male humpback whales as they migrate along the coast of Queensland. “When it comes to communication, anything is possible.”

The television ad and online campaign is inspired by Humpback Acoustic Research Collaboration, a collaborative project between researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO), and the University of Queensland (UQ).

The campaign is online at www.optuswhalesong.com.au, providing an opportunity to interact with a virtual humpback whale through song, information on the science and music behind the commercial, interviews with key staff from the project, a screen saver and ringtones (piano soundtrack and whale sounds).

Optus Whale Song site

Optus Whale Song site
Optus Whale Song site
Optus Whale Song site


The Whale Song campaign was developed at M&C Saatchi, Sydney, by executive creative director/copywriter Ben Walsh, creative group head/art director Paul Carpenter, copywriter Andy Fleming, agency producers Jenny Lee-Archer, Rod James and Loren August.

Filming was shot by director David Denneen via Film Graphics, Sydney, with producer Anna Fawcett and director of photography Simon Duggan.

Music was composed by Noise International creative director Bruce Heald.

Everything below the water line was developed by Boffswana, Sydney. The digital team created the whale and the environment it swims in as well all of the programming for users to interact with him and make songs.

The site won a FWA Award (Favourite Website Award).

  • Jan

    I’m sure this will win awards for agencies but not customers for Optus.

  • linda smith

    what a beautiful ad. love to see it more often well done to the creator.

  • whale lova100

    i dont get it did it actually happen?
    is it real?

  • adslag

    self indulgent ad, that has nothing to do with helping or assisting customers….so Optus can now talk to whales, pitty they have no success talking to people…

  • One with nature

    You are pushing the boundaries of creativity. Well done. We only know a small bit of creation.
    The negative comments by others say more about themselves than anything else. Keep developing the communication science

    Bill Skinner (Clinical Psychologist)

  • Larry Bidinian

    A wonderfully beautiful example of harmonic resonance and interspecies communication. Why don’t you make a complete DVD and full orchestration of the event available for the public to purchase? Donate the proceeds to Save The Whales. It would be a best seller I’m sure and, no doubt, strike a magical cord among those of us environmentalists with deep hearts.

  • Denis

    It was the favorite site of my son (2 years old). It was active on my desktop for 3-4 hours a day and our friends asked for link. Now it is gone. My son is sad so am I.
    Please notice me if you run it again.

  • Roxy

    I too used to use this site quite often and am quite saddened that it isn’t running any longer. Hopefully they bring the site back up; it would be very much appreciated.

  • Mango

    It’s now 2014 and I really miss this beautiful oasis in the internet. I wish they could bring back the http://www.optuswhalesong.com.au site. If they add a link for public donations to keep it running, I’m sure it will run forever!

    • Pitkin_fridend

      when it was created? I’ve bookmarked it long time ago and now completely forgot the year. Also site worked recently but without that beautiful application.

  • CountryEdge

    I’m just hearing and seeing of this and the chills that went up my arms, neck and back. How beautiful this was and I’m so striving to see more. I have repeatedly played the video. So lovingly beautiful to see and hear them sing and you singing with them. I wished that I have seen this when it first came out.

    <3 <3 <3