Marketing boost from Air NZ safety video

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014
Taika Waititi on set.

ALL EARS: A sneak peek at Air New Zealand’s new Hobbit safety video, with director Taika Waititi on set.

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Middle Earth is back in Central Otago with Orcs and other characters roaming the mountains.

Director Taika Waititi, of Boy and What We Do in the Shadows, has been shooting an inflight safety video for Air New Zealand around Central Otago and Queenstown.

Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said the video celebrated the third and final film in The Hobbit trilogy - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The video featured cameo appearances from director Sir Peter Jackson, Weta Workshop co-founder Sir Richard Taylor and cast members of the films, and Waititi also made a special cameo appearance as The Wizard, he said.

"Air New Zealand has been the official airline of Middle Earth for more than a decade now and we want to mark the final film in The Hobbit trilogy in a very special way. This video brings together iconic New Zealand film locations with some of the famous faces and Taika Waititi's signature directing style. We can't wait to unveil it."

Air New Zealand had invested several million dollars into global marketing campaigns and initiatives to celebrate the Hobbit films and attract visitors to New Zealand, including branding two Boeing 777-300 long haul aircraft with Hobbit imagery, he said.

Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore said the marketing spinoff and global exposure from the "captivating and engaging" inflight videos was brilliant for the region.

"When it comes out we will make the most of it through some marketing activity. It is a great way to inspire [tourists] as they come into New Zealand."

Tourism Central Otago general manager Anne Pullar said filming for advertising or movies was great exposure for the region. "We do get inquiries all the time. Whether it is corporates or people wanting to film movies looking for particular sites, it is all good for the region from an economic point of view."

Central Otago District Council tourism marketing manager Alison Mason said there was "quite a large advertising sector" filming in Central Otago, particularly with car companies filming car launches at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.

Tod said the airline's latest safety video followed the successful An Unexpected Briefing released in 2012, which had become a global hit, with more than 12 million views online. The new video is expected to be rolled out across the airline's fleet from October.

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- The Southland Times

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