Staff Reporters
Nov 5, 2012

Air New Zealand's Hobbit-themed safety video becomes global viral hit

AUCKLAND – Air New Zealand’s safety video that positions the carrier as the "The Airline of Middle-earth" has become a global viral hit, garnering 6.2 million YouTube views in just four days.

The safety video was inspired by the forthcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - the first in a trilogy of films from Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson, who makes a (very) brief cameo in the video.

The 'Unexpected briefing' video shows Hobbits, dwarves, wizards and Lord of the Rings characters like Gollum prepare for take-off as Air New Zealand's inflight safety message is relayed.

The initiative is part of the carrier’s two-year plan to invest several million dollars in Hobbit-related marketing efforts across Australia, Asia, the US and Europe in a bid to attract more tourists to New Zealand.

As part of the drive, it is working with Tourism New Zealand on a number of initiatives, including plans to bring a number of journalists to experience Middle-earth.

It also plans to create a Hobbit-themed aircraft that will be revealed before the movie’s global premier in Wellington later this month.

Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s head of international marketing, said the viral video, which has also garnered coverage by CNN, Wall Street Journal and the Sydney Morning Herald, has been a highly effective means of growing global awareness of the brand, as well as New Zealand as a destination and the forthcoming movie.

“But most importantly it’s been a hit with customers on our aircraft and has again shown that by creating world class content people will engage with the safety messages,” she added.

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