World Skyline

"Global City" full of famous skyscrapers

Franklin Templeton has a fascinating TV commercial titled "Global Perspective" that shows an imagined city with all of the great skyscrapers of the world in one thriving city center, quite reminiscent of SimCity. Alas, the result is a slick look combining SimCity looks built on the base of Downtown Vancouver, with Granville Bridge, Burrard Inlet and North Shore Mountains.

The video starts at the street level and then rises, as if in a glass elevator, to show a city center/downtown with the likes of London's Big Ben, New York City's Chrysler Building, Kuala Lumpur's Petronis Towers, and Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Tower. The angle is, we have a global perspective and understand all the markets and cultures that are represented in this fictional city peppered with towers from the world.

Shot 4: Grand Skyline
Franklin Templeton television commercial "Global Perspective", source: Franklin Templeton
"Global City" with downtown shaped just like Downtown Vancouver, minus Stanley Park's peninsula.

Interesting points:
  1. A. P. Giannini Plaza, in front of San Francisco's Bank of America Building (555 California St) is used as the street level plaza. Incidentally, this is the same plaza that was used for The Towering Inferno. Note that the Banker's Heart sculpture has been removed from the plaza and that all the nearby buildings are actually in San Francisco. The people shown in the opening shot are from a great diversity of cultures and races. 
  2. The Bank of America Building has also been shortened to about 15 stories to allow for the skyline to appear as the shot rises above Giannini Plaza.
  3. At the end of the ad, the camera flies into a satellite view of the city. The city center is clearly shaped like Downtown Vancouver Peninsula. It's less clear what the other land areas are based on.The give-aways that it is Vancouver are the shape of the land (minus Stanley Park), the domed stadium (in white), and the bridges crossing False Creek along with Granville Island.

  4. Downtown Vancouver satellite view, courtesy Google Maps.

    Satellite view of Downtown "Global City" from Franklin Templeton TV ad.
  5. A collection of the greatest and most striking buildings and towers make up this "Global City".  We noted the following buildings or structures making an appearance (roughly in order of appearance):
    1. Big Ben (London)
    2. Chrysler Building (New York)
    3. Petronas Towers (Kuala Lumpur)
    4. Arc de Triomphe (Paris)
    5. Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghai)
    6. Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong)
    7. Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco)
    8. Taipei 101 (Taipei)
    9. Burj Khalifa (Dubai)
    10. Shanghai World Financial Center (Shanghai)
    11. Sydney Opera House (Sydney)
    12. Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe) (London)
    13. Willis (Sears) Tower (Chicago)
    14. Burj al Arab (Dubai) 
    15. In addition, Mt. Fuji (Japan) is shown, as is a long cable stay bridge the Bandra-Worli Sea Link Bridge (Mumbai) leading west from the Burj Khalifa.
If you'd like to see all the buildings next to each other, click this link to

Of course, in many ways, Vancouver is the big star behind the scenes.

More pictures after the jump. Even more geeky analysis and research after the pictures. 

Enjoy the images below.

Shot 1: A.P. Giannini Plaza – street level
First image in ad, showing business people meeting in "Global City's" plaza, based on AP Giannini Plaza in San Francisco
Shot 1: A.P. Giannini Plaza – rising above plaza

AP Giannini Plaza. Bank of America Building (right)

Shot 1: Bank of America Building – rising above plaza
Rising above plaza shows emerging skyline.
Shot 3: Sydney Opera House/Gherkin shot
Sydney Opera House and the Gherkin
Shot 5: Mountain and Bridge
Taipei 101, Mt. Fuji and Burj Khalifa
Shot 6: Aerial Shot of Downtown "Global City"
"Global City" with world towers, on Downtown Vancouver Peninsula, with Granville Bridge and mountains across Burnaby Inlet
Shot 6: Satellite Shot with Ben Franklin Shaped City.
Satellite view, with city center to upper right, and emerging Ben Franklin shaped island city.
Unless otherwise noted, all images are from Franklin Templeton's "Global Perspective" TV ad.

Script-Shot Correspondence - the text matches the images
Shot #1: "In today's global economy, spotting smart investments requires expertise from the ground up. Seeing first what others see eventually."
We see the plaza at ground level, then rise "from the ground up". As the camera rises, we "eventually" see the entire city and skyline.

Shot #2: "At Franklin Templeton, we have hundreds of experts across the globe."
The shot shows a room with business people communicating via video conference with places "across the globe."

Shot #3: "With local insight,"
Shot gives an aerial closeup of the Sydney Opera House.

Shot #4: "that gives us a broader perspective,"
The grand skyline appears, literally providing "a broader perspective".

Shot #5: "for navigating world markets",
Depth shot of two towers, the bridge and the large mountain.

Shot #6: "This approach has helped us achieve great heights"
"in global investing for over 60 years."
Here we literally go to "great heights" flying from a "bird's eye" / helicopter view to a satellite view; easily "achieving great heights".

Shot #7: "Franklin Templeton Investments. Gain from our perspective."
Although not as connected, the final corporate logo and name appear as through Ben Franklin's spectacles which had been watching the whole Global City before him. Nice final, and very subtle touch.

Shot by Shot Analysis

Shot 1: A.P. Giannini Plaza
We see many people of many backgrounds. Although the majority are in classic Western business attire, we do see what appear to be an Indian woman in a blue sari, and African man in a brown outfit and skullcap, a Sikh man with turbin and Western suit (no tie), several men in "sheik" robes and head scarves. We also prominently see an Asian woman, an African American, and a whole lot of European/North American caucasian looking folks.

Shot 2: Office Room
Petronis Towers (center right), with Chrysler Building (right), Oriental Pearl Tower (left), and mountains in the background.
What look to be conference call images show people from Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo. The room looks extremely busy with 8 people doing mostly different things.

Pinnacle Hotel. Image:

Shot 3: Sydney Opera House/Gherkin shot
The two notable buildings in this shot are the Sydney Opera House along the waterfront, and the Gherkin Tower in the foreground to the right. Doing some research on Bing Maps, it appears that most of the other buildings are from Downtown Vancouver's northern waterfront. In particular, in the midground, we see a tall bulding behind the Gherkin which looks to be the Vancouver Marriot Pinnacle Hotel. Just to it's left and between the camera and the opera house is a brown grey building with a trapezoidish floor plan, which is the Rennaisance Vancouver Harborside Hotel. The building's revolving banquet space, Vistas, has been removed from the image. You can see it in the image below to the lower right of the Pinnacle Hotel.

To the near left, the tall blue glass building would seem to be the Shrangri-La Vancouver.

Shot 4: Grand Skyline
Foreground: Gherkin (center), Oriental Pearl Tower (left)
Midground: Bank of China Tower (left), Transamerica Building (center left), Chrysler Building (center), Petronis Towers (center right), Taipei 101 (right)
Background: Burj Khalifa (center left), Willis (Sears) Tower (right), along with English Bay to the left and Burrard Inlet and the mountains of West Vancouver in the far background.

Shot 5: Mountain and Bridge
Foreground: Taipei 101
Midground: Burj Khalifa and a the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, with its tall double pylon towered cable stay bridge with a curving roadway, and a set of 4 smaller and shorter pylon towers. 
Background: Very tall volcano mountain. Although this doesn't look exactly like Mt. Fuji, the form is just like a classic stratovolcano. Mt. Fuji is considered one of the most classic looking stratovolcanoes.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link (aka Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link) in Mumbai. Photo: Wikimedia commons/Woodysworldtv
Shot 6: Aerial to Satellite Shot with Ben Franklin Shaped City.
Who knew that someone's face could become a map to a great metropolis. Well it sort of works. Although I must say that Ben's upper brow (his left forehead, on our right) looks a bit tumorous or like a birthmark. But who cares, it's where the city's center with all the tall buildings are located.

We're not sure of the source of the rest of his face. Could be other American cities, by the rather gridlike elements to it.

Shot 7: Franklin Templeton Investments Title 

Geography - number of towers or structures by continent
North America: 3
Europe: 3
Asia: 6
Middle East: 2
South America: 0
Africa: 0
Australia: 1


  1. Is this the cable-stayed bridge you're looking for?

    1. Pacifist, I think you're right! Looks like the Bandra-Worli Sea Link is the same bridge exactly with a tall double pylon tower and 4 small double pylon towers (2 for each roadway). Finally there's the big arcing roadway. Of course in the "Global City" the bridge crosses English Bay from the base of the Burj Khalifa to a long imaginary island that ends up being Mr. Franklin's mane of hair.

  2. Museum of Vancouver has picked up our post in its blog MOVments.


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