Lord of the Airlines?

Air New Zealand (ANZ) teamed up with WETA, a special effects and prop-creation company originally set up by Peter Jackson (Director of both the recent Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film adaptations of J R R Tolkien’s books), in order to create a joint marketing campaign. The advertisements take the form of safety briefings given on typical ANZ flights, with the twist of being populated by characters and references from The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit.

Cast from both trilogies, such as Elijah Wood who played Frodo in the original trilogy, make appearances as themselves.

The advertisements have a light and humorous tone to them – when the briefings reach the no-smoking rule for ANZ flights one character is seen hurriedly hiding his pipe, while another has his taken off of him, a reference to the common means of smoking in Tolkien’s fictional universe.


New Zealand Airlines have created a hashtag to interact across the social media channels, so it appears to a fast range of target markets where they can interact and endorse the advertisements, engage with both Lord of the Rings and New Zealand Airline brands. Warner Brothers, in charge of distributiing the Hobbit trilogy has also taken part in the campaign, through Twitter.

While this is entertaining for fans of the films, the length of the video combined with celebrity endorsement and mass of content from the films could have the effect of detracting from the core purpose of the video, to serve as an advertisement for Air New Zealand.

While the advertisements are extremely well put-together, it being obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into every aspect of its conception and creation, there is one notable flaw in the campaign: the advertisements reference the two film trilogies constantly throughout, meaning that those who have no knowledge of either will likely not engage well, if at all, with the campaign.

We love movies! But does this work in commercials?


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