Ad­ver­tis­ing aer­o­bat­ics

New Zealand Marketing - - Front Page -

Air New Zealand be­gan life in 1940 as an in­ter­na­tional air­line ser­vic­ing Aus­tralia and the Pa­cific. Orig­i­nally called TEAL, and jointly owned by New Zealand, Aus­tralia and Bri­tain, much of its early ad­ver­tis­ing show­cased Maori and Pa­cific art and cul­ture and “beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated, highly stylised images crafted us­ing the air­line’s cor­po­rate colours of blues and teals”.

The ‘50s were the age of the fly­ing boat and the ‘60s were the dawn of the jet age, which saw more New Zealan­ders than ever fly­ing the lux­u­ri­ous, smoke-filled, whiskey-drenched skies. It was also a new era for Air New Zealand, which took on its cur­rent name in 1965 when it ab­sorbed do­mes­tic car­rier NZ Na­tional Air­ways Cor­po­ra­tion and started adding pop­u­lar new routes like Los Angeles, Hong Kong and, in 1982, its 747s to Lon­don (it pro­moted the route with the ‘Ritz of the skies’ cam­paign).

The air­line un­der­went a ma­jor re­brand­ing in the ‘90s at the hands of Bri­tish de­sign firm Davies Baron and lo­cal firm Dave Clark De­sign As­so­ciates and this was seen as a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for the air­line’s evo­lu­tion into an in­ter­na­tional brand. The new brand­ing, known as the ‘Pa­cific Wave’, in­cor­po­rated two stylised rib­bons in the tra­di­tional brand colours and cov­ered the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior of its air­craft to of­fices, ve­hi­cles, crock­ery, uni­forms and much more.

After nav­i­gat­ing a bit of fi­nan­cial tur­bu­lence and be­ing bailed out by the gov­ern­ment, Air New Zealand re­alised it couldn’t com­pete against its much larger com­peti­tors by buy­ing ads, so it started to com­pete on per­son­al­ity, em­brac­ing the ca­sual, un­stuffy but attentive na­ture of its staff in its pro­mo­tions and tak­ing cre­ative risks to get global at­ten­tion.

The first of its unique safety videos de­buted in 2009 and fea­tured a host of body painted staff, in­clud­ing then chief ex­ec­u­tive Rob Fyfe. It launched to mas­sive me­dia at­ten­tion world­wide and within ten days had racked up over three mil­lion views on­line. Since then it’s also made use of the All Blacks, a puerile pup­pet called Rico, Betty White, Bear Grylls and a num­ber of char­ac­ters from the Lord of the Rings and The Hob­bit movies (Air New Zealand’s growth has mir­rored that of New Zealand as a tourist des­ti­na­tion and, just as Tourism New Zealand ben­e­fit­ted from its as­so­ci­a­tion with the movies, Air New Zealand did too after sign­ing up as ‘the of­fi­cial Air­line of Mid­dle-earth’).

Through a com­bi­na­tion of great staff, amaz­ing cus­tomer ser­vice, a solid safety record, im­pres­sive prod­uct in­no­va­tion and world class pro­mo­tional ef­forts, it’s gained a stel­lar in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion, won a steady stream of air­line of the year awards, made plenty of Ki­wis proud and be­come the envy of many other air­lines.

My pre­cious in­deed.

Like the Hob­bits it has so ably used in its re­cent mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, Air New Zealand is a com­par­a­tively tiny in­ter­na­tional air­line with a big heart and a cheeky dis­po­si­tion. And, over the past 75 years, that at­ti­tude has shone through in its mar­ket­ing.

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