Air New Zealand has not only mastered the art of the engaging safety video it’s also nailed the formula for making content go viral.
The airline’s latest safety instruction video is no exception. Titled ‘The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made’ the film is themed around The Hobbit films and comes ahead of the launch of the third and final film in December.
The video stars The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings director (and proud kiwi) Sir Peter Jackson, alongside some of the film franchise’s stars including Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O’Gorman (Fili the Dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast). The actors appear alongside a host of Elves, Dwarves and Orcs as well as Air New Zealand staff.
The safety video was shot over six days across a number of the film’s locations around New Zealand, with visual effects created by Weta Digital, which is part of Weta Workshop, the production company behind the films. The video was directed by Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi (Boy, What We Do in the Shadows) who also makes a cameo in the video.
Sir Peter Jackson said: "Air New Zealand has created yet another fantastic video to celebrate The Hobbit films. This latest offering combines members of our cast and our locations with Air New Zealand’s unique personality. I had a lot of fun on the set with Taika and the team and look forward to seeing the video on board."
Air New Zealand Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams said the latest safety video wraps up a successful three-year association between the airline and The Hobbit films.
"We are very proud to be the official airline of Middle-earth and have worked hard over the past three years to create highly effective global marketing campaigns, including distinctive branded aircraft and Hobbit-inspired online content, which have got the world talking about both our airline and destination New Zealand."
Calling anything the best or the most epic is a strategy fraught with danger, however Air New Zealand has yet again demonstrated an impressive understanding of what audiences want.
‘The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made’ has attracted 16 million views in one week, with close to 120,000 people viewing it online every hour.
While piggy backing on one of the year’s most anticipated movie releases is sure to help, Air New Zealand have shown great skill at leveraging off the films without appearing naff. It’s a testimony to the brand’s personality and its heritage in creating these safety films that ensures that the films connect with global audiences.
Air New Zealand has worked hard to leverage off the success of The Hobbit films and this safety video is the third it has created around the franchise. As this is the final film in the franchise it is no surprise that they went big as the airline looks to get as much leverage as it can.
The airline has even branded itself ‘The Official Airline of Middle-earth’ as it pushes to reap the benefits of the global love affair with The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films.
It’s an alignment that has paid off big time for the airline, which this year reported a 29% increase in interim profit to NZ$180 million and expects its full-year profits to rise to more than NZ$300million.
Tourist arrivals to New Zealand saw a 7.3 increase to 2.77 million in the 12 months to February 2014, which was a record for the country of 4 million people. What’s more 14% of tourists say The Hobbit films were a factor in their decision to visit the country.
This isn’t just a one off to the brand though. 'The Most Epic Safety Film Ever' is the latest in a string of Air New Zealand safety videos, which have gone viral boosting awareness of the airline and creating genuine online kudos for the brand.
Air New Zealand has mastered the art for engaging safety videos from The All Blacks to Bear Grylls, Betty White, Richard Simmons, Sports Illustrated models, Air New Zealand staff in body paint (view all these films in gallery) - there’s even a 'Best of' compilation video for the safety videos. Air New Zealand claim these films have collectively clocked up more than 30 million views.
As a strategy this has been a stroke of genius for the airline, and a move that has seen many other airlines rushing to copy Air New Zealand with their own versions.
These videos have been so successful that the airline has begun to craft these films with online audiences in mind – as this latest video clearly demonstrates.
In fact, the safety films now come complete with online teaser campaigns and behind the scenes video. Interesting the magic is predominantly limited to the safety videos, the airlines attempts to make other virals have failed to capture the imagination and attention of audiences in the same way.
What clearly began as a bit of fun that aimed to get passengers to pay attention to the safety instructions, has grown into a superb branded entertainment platform, which is not just driving brand awareness but it’s also helping the airline's bottom line.
The formula of success for the safety videos seems to lie in Air New Zealand's ability to present familiar information the online safety message in surprising new ways.
In this way the films are a huge success, Air New Zealand have shown a great ability to capture the audiences attention and imagination with the safety demonstration and ensuring they are paying attention.
Of course the success goes well beyond this, the viral nature of these films proves that Air New Zealand are creating entertaining content that audiences want to seek out and watch online.
Obviously these films have done a phenomenal job of driving brand awareness globally, however the nature of these films not only helps position the brand as fun and creative in consumers minds, it's also aligning it with safety and customer-centric service.
Air New Zealand have developed an impressive branded entertainment platform that also serves as an engagement and entertainment tool.
This is a brilliant strategy that just keeps on giving. The challenge for Air New Zealand will be continuing to surprise and delight people with the films. They’ve set the bar pretty high and now they need to keep raising it.
Is it the most epic safety film ever made? Quite possibly. Is it the most epic viral strategy ever? I think it might just be. Well done Air New Zealand.