When KLM ordered its 747s in 1969, the airline wanted to give its passengers an idea of how massive the plane actually was. So they took something familiar and applied it to the plane in a way their Dutch customers could relate. The end result was this creative, compelling illustration.

KLM had a full-scale outline of the 747 painted on the ramp at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The entire outline measured 1,230.3 feet, and was completed by two painters. Here's what KLM says about the cars used in the ad:

"And then the smart solution arrived in the form of six trailers carrying a total of 46 cars. These came from Van Doorne's Automobiel Fabrieken in Eindhoven, better known as DAF. These little cars are a national treasure in the Netherlands. All models were equipped with a so-called "variomatic" – an automatic gearbox with a 'smart shift' whose sole purpose was to put the car in reverse. This gave the DAF another unique feature: you could drive it backwards just as fast as you could drive it forwards. In 1969, DAF was the last Dutch manufacturer still producing its own brand of cars, and business was booming. So it was hardly surprising that DAF was keen to play a part in KLM's photo shoot."

1969 DAF model 55 (via FaceMePLS on Flickr / CC Commercial License)

KLM says they had to use a helicopter to get the photo, because the perspectives from the Schiphol control tower, as well as a cherry-picker crane weren't suitable. The photo appeared in every Dutch newspaper, and KLM now looks back on the event, calling it 'a great PR stunt for both transport sectors.' Although KLM didn't begin flying the 747 until 1971, the photo served to create a lot of buzz about the much-anticipated aircraft.

h/t Meanwhile at KLM

Photos courtesy KLM unless otherwise noted.