Air New Zealand celebrated its 75th anniversary yesterday by holding various competitions and promotions, including a mid-air game show, a chance for customers to win back their fare and a themed flight across the Tasman.
Air New Zealand said in a release that any passengers who booked flights yesterday or today has a chance of being randomly drawn to win a refund of their fare, with winners being notified throughout the 48-hour period.
And some lucky customers flying yesterday got a bit of a surprise as the airline brought back iconic Kiwi quiz show ‘It’s in the Bag’ on main city and regional services throughout the country. Customers were given the chance to become contestants and choose between ‘the money’ (Airpoints Dollars) or ‘the bag’ (a mystery prize).
The airline has been updating its followers on the ‘It’s in the Bag’ through its social media channels, posting pictures of the winners and their prizes.
The airline also uploaded a hilarious video on its YouTube channel (developed by creative agency True) of a montage of video clips from its 75 years of flying to the backing track of 50 Cent’s 'In Da Club', which involves some strategic editing to make it appear as if passengers, crew and pilots alike are bopping along to the tune. A message at the end of the video reads “Let’s party like it’s our birthday”. Who knew Air New Zealand was so gangster?
Another video was posted on YouTube and its website features a selection of images from the airline’s history and a voice-over narrating what the airline has done over the past 75 years. The clip ends by advertising Air New Zealand’s 48-hour birthday refund promotion.
The airline said in a release that yesterday’s celebrations were just one highlight of a year of activities, which have also included the retrospective exhibition, the release of a book Air New Zealand: Celebrating 75 Years, commemorative stamps issued with New Zealand Post and a promotion in the UK that saw 75 lucky customers grab return fares to New Zealand for just 75GBP.
Air New Zealand chief executive officer Christopher Luxon says the airline has enjoyed the ongoing support of Kiwis throughout its 75 years and today is an opportunity to include customers in the anniversary celebrations.
“As the national carrier, our history is just as much about New Zealand as it is about Air New Zealand so this is something for all of us to celebrate together,” he says. “Air New Zealand’s first flight took nine hours to travel from Auckland to Sydney with just nine passengers on board, paving the way for a nation of adventurers to take flight and explore. It really has been a remarkable journey and we want to thank New Zealanders for being part of it.”
The airline said yesterday morning that it was commemorating this [nine-hour Sydney] flight with a themed Auckland – Sydney service.
The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – in stark contrast to the Short S30 flying boat which operated the airline’s first flight on 30 April 1940. Customers will be treated to a 1940s themed menu, a mid-air fashion show of the airline’s uniforms through the decades and other special surprises. Later in the day, a separate celebration will be held in Rose Bay, Sydney, where the first flight landed.
The airline also announced yesterday it would bring its retrospective exhibition, developed in partnership with Te Papa and currently on display at the national museum in Wellington, to Auckland where it will open at Auckland War Memorial Museum in November this year.
“The exhibition has proved a huge hit so far attracting almost 250,000 visitors since it opened last December and we’re thrilled to be bringing this experience to Auckland," Luxon says. "I’m also pleased to announce that, in collaboration with Te Papa, we have extended the exhibition dates and it will now remain in Wellington until 26 July 2015.”
The interactive display features crew uniforms, showing how the style has changed over the years, tracking the progression from the early military styles, the Dior-inspired 1960s look, the funky seventies outfits, and of course today’s Trelise Cooper designs (which are available for visitors to try on).
Visitors also get treated to traveller and crew stories delivered through mixed media displays that touch on various aspects of Air New Zealand's history. From there, the exhibition honours the pioneers, providing a series of snapshots of the inventors, pioneers and daredevils that took the risks, which allowed the company to progress over the years.
The airline, which first started operating as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) in 1940, released an earlier TVC providing a tongue-in-cheek glimpse at how much flying has changed since those early days. Over 45 seconds, the clip shows that while we are still required to check in, buckle up and wait for a meal, the nature of each of these activities has changed quite significantly.
But not everything has survived the ages to take on a modified form. The ad also makes a fleeting reference to on-plane smoking, something that is today only hinted at on older planes that still have antiquated ashtrays attached to armrests.
The evolution of the brand is also evident in the ads and promotional material, which has been released over the years: