Air New Zealand avoids controversy with inflight safety video video

Air NZ

Air NZ is encouraging students in years 4-8 to create their own short safety videos for a competition being run in partnership with Te Papa.

Having courted controversy with bikini-clad models and body-painted staff, Air New Zealand is trying a new tack to maintain its image as an innovator in the production of inflight safety videos.

Its latest scheme is to encourage students in years 4-8 to create their own short safety videos for a competition being run in partnership with Te Papa.

The winning class will get a trip to Wellington to visit the airline's 75th anniversary exhibition, which is at Te Papa until early June. There are also technology prizes and the best entries will be screened at the exhibition.

Announcing the competition on Wednesday, Air NZ head of global brand development Jodi Williams took the opportunity to mention the airline's previous attention grabbing safety videos.

"We have developed a reputation for our safety videos which have been viewed by millions of people worldwide and always tend to generate a lot of conversation," she said.

An early conversation-generating campaign was the 2009 Bare Essentials safety video, which featured body-painted staff and ran in conjunction with a similar Nothing to Hide TV commercial.

The body paint approach caused a few complaints, but the Safety in Paradise effort last year - featuring bikini-clad models from Sports Illustrated - caused a louder outcry.

An online petition was started to get it banned and attracted 5600 signatures.

Other Air NZ safety videos have featured All Blacks, spangly fitness personality Richard Simmons, comedian Betty White, survival expert Bear Grylls, and assorted characters of Middle Earth.

Some of the airline's other promotional efforts have also attracted attention for being in dubious taste.

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There was Rico, the furry puppet, who often used sexual innuendo in an online campaign before being killed off.

He interviewed Hollywood bad-girl Lindsay Lohan while she was serving home detention on a theft conviction, made a rap video with hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg and shot the breeze with former Bay Watch star David Hasselhoff.

An online promotion portraying older single women as man-hungry cougars was called appalling, disgusting and degrading to women by the organisation Rape Prevention Education.

 - Stuff

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