Air New Zealand's bikini-laden safety video may have raised the ire of feminists but it's also lifted global search results for the term "safety video" by 50 per cent in the last week.
Google's Trends website tracks search volumes and in the last week it saw an up-tick from an index result of 28 last Sunday to 40 yesterday with the search giant pointing to news stories about the glamorous Kiwi video as the reason for the rise.
The full version of Air New Zealand's Safety in Paradise video - filmed in the Cook Islands and featuring four Sports Illustrated bikini models - was released on Tuesday and became something of a viral hit.
The video was covered on hundreds of international websites including the UK's Daily Mail, BBC, CNN, CNBC and the New York Daily News.
The international reaction was initially positive but once the video was criticised in New Zealand for its "highly sexualised" content, the international press then covered that controversy.
This time, the headlines read: "Turbulence for Air New Zealand over ‘sexed-up' flight safety video" (Daily Mail), "Swimsuit safety video: Fun or offensive?" (CNN) and "Air New Zealand slammed over ‘sexualised' safety video" (Sydney Morning Herald).
Massey University lecturer and feminist commentator Deborah Russell led the criticism of the video saying that seeing bikini-clad women on plane screens "jars".
"I want to be taken seriously but it seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me," Russell said.
Former Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Andrew Stone said a certain amount of flak was to be expected but it was not a serious problem for the campaign.
"I applaud Air New Zealand for taking something that was a necessary evil and making it vaguely watchable. It amazes me how much attention people now pay to the safety video.
"I think things like this bring New Zealand to a wider audience. It's not as though men and women in swimsuits don't exist."
While Air New Zealand's models have been viewed on YouTube 1.2 million times in five days, Google shows the airline's video featuring Golden Girls actress Betty White drive even more interest.
Google indexes its results against the highest search volumes in a given period. The highest returns for "safety video" in the past year has been for Virgin's all-dancing safety video in October.
In the past month, American airline Delta's 1980s-themed video featuring sitcom alien Alf and basketballer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has dominated safety video searches, more than doubling Air New Zealand's effort to date.
- Sunday Star Times