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).