I am always quick to puncture the innate pomposity of the advertising industry (in which I have skulked for 25 years), and its clients, so I should be equally quick to praise it – and them – when it – and they – do something so very right.

Inspired, on so many levels.

Firstly, because it respects the intelligence of its audience. I have always remarked during the safety demonstration on a plane “if you really need to know how to fasten a seat belt, you definitely need to get out more”.

Secondly, because it hilariously and cleverly leverages the worldwide impact of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies on the overall tourism profile of beautiful New Zealand.

Thirdly, because it is courageous. When will advertisers get it into their heads that people are never BORED into buying anything, whether it’s a tin of beans or watching a safety video?

Fourthly, because it’s genuinely funny and watchable again and again – thanks to the quality of both the production and, more unusually, the writing. I especially love the line about seat belts, “and not so tight as you lose the feeling in your legs”. The segue into how to adopt the brace position is also very clever.

As over nine and a half million people have already watched this little video, I really hope Air NZ think they’ve got value for money. Because I can pretty much guarantee that nine and a half million people now have a better opinion of the brand, and that’s a great return on investment – and money in the bank. Well done all concerned, including, by the way, the actors, who are charming: you can all be well proud.

Like the Dumb Ways To Die internet sensation from Metro Trains, (twelve million hits and counting, last time I looked), this is a superb example of commercial information being delivered about as well as it ever could be. Fair makes the blood of a tired old writer run hot, I can tells ya.

So God bless brave, smart clients who know how to brief an ad agency, not write the ads for them. And God bless companies whose decision-making processes are not so bureaucratically ossified that the marketing team can even get something like this through the structure. In fact, God bless companies who employ people with the guts and courage to put something like this up, and then empower them to back their own judgment.

Qantas? You there? Telstra? Optus? Myer? All of you, you know who you are.

Anyone? Hello?

Hellooooooo? (Voice echoes, and disappears into the void …)

I was once at a dinner where a well-known ad man from the UK (the guy who turned French Connection UK into FCUK) threw up a billboard on the screen and called it the riskiest ad he’d ever seen. We looked at it and looked at it with puzzled frowns – it was just a very basic airline ad. Then he turned to us and smiled: “That’s the riskiest ad you’ll ever see, because it risks never being noticed by anyone.”

Yup. Wot he said. Right there.

  1. Tracey Edges says:

    One of the things I remember from Uni (I did Advertising for a little while – loved it), was that it is better to get a D, for trying something different, than an A for staying safe, not pushing your boundaries and being boring. Obviously it’s better to get an A for being fantastic, innovative and superbly interesting, but, you get my point! I agree with you – I do appreciate a good Ad.


  2. Alan Iny says:

    Delta Airlines has actually done something equally fun and clever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wK0Ago6Kb0E


  3. I’m with you on this one! Big Amen to your God blessings.


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