Skift Take

Air New Zealand found marketing gold when it decided to align itself with the Hobbit series and returning to the theme was a safe but smart choice after the national carrier received unexpectedly negative feedback for putting bathing suit models in a safety video.

Air New Zealand is one of several international airlines whose brand recognition has exploded in recent years thanks to viral digital videos. Creating ads and safety videos that star celebrities and make potential customers laugh is a trend that’s significantly improved airlines’ marketing strategies.

Air New Zealand’s newest safety video, released yesterday, includes Hobbit directors and actors Sir Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Sylvestor McCoy, Dean O’Gorman, Sir Richard Taylor, and Naoyuki Shimizu, who each play themselves. It also includes two Hobbit fans, clearly impressed to find the movie stars on their flight, and Air New Zealand FLIGHT attendants who appear to be hobbits themselves.

This is the airline’s second Hobbit-themed safety video. The first was released in October 2012 as part of its partnership with the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey debut and kickstarted a trend of themed and comical safety videos from the national carrier.

In the past two years, Air New Zealand’s hits include safety videos starring celebrity survivalist Bear Grylls, 91-year-old comedienne Betty White, and a controversial video starring Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models.

Both the airline’s and the country’s tie-up with The Hobbit movie series has worked out wonderfully. Arrivals from many top markets have increased and December 2013 marked the highest number of arrivals in any month with 381,000 visitors clearing immigration controls.

Turkish Airlines has also benefited from a series of viral videos starring Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant competing for a child’s respect and the best selfie.

Find Air New Zealand’s newest Hobbit-themed safety video below:

Reach new heights in aviation
November 12 in Dallas
See Who's Onboard

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: air new zealand, celebrities, hobbit, videos

Photo credit: Air New Zealand returns to its Hobbit obsession with a new in-flight safety video. AirNZ / YouTube

Up Next

Loading next stories