Air New Zealand dips into surrealism to take viewers on a fantastical journey

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  • July 12, 2017
  • StopPress Team
Air New Zealand dips into surrealism to take viewers on a fantastical journey

Air New Zealand has continued its elaborate safety video tradition with a new four-minute spot that features actors Katie Holmes and Cuba Gooding Jr.

While the previous videos have all embraced a clear theme—be it Lord of the Rings, Men in Black or summer vibes—the latest spot takes a slightly more surrealist turn, with giant humans roaming mountains, white water rafting atop of clouds, skiing on creamy white pavlovas and flowers magically blooming under the water.    

It might be a departure from the airline's previous videos, but the latest clip was again conceptualised by the team at True. The production team was Auckland-based company Assembly and the backing track—a rendition of the 1960s song 'My Little Corner of the World'—was recorded by Kiwi musician Gin Wigmore.

While Air New Zealand's whimsical showcase is a visual feast to behold, the StopPress inbox was graced with an interesting comment from one of our avid readers this morning, pointing out some notable similarities between Air New Zealand's video and the music video 'Up&Up' released by British band Coldplay in May last year.

As the band itself describes on its website, the video is "a poignant, surrealist montage which alludes to contemporary issues. It also features racehorses galloping on water, a turtle floating down a subway platform and a popcorn-spouting volcano." Frontman Chris Martin remarked at the time that he thought 'Up&Up' was one of the best videos ever made.

Created by Israeli directors Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia with scenes and visual effects by Ukraine-based company GloriaFX, the video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects last year and was nominated for Best Video at the Grammys.

The video uses a number of scenic locations as its backdrop, including a cameo appearance from the lower half of New Zealand's South island.

The overall execution of the two clips are certainly different, but as our anonymous tipster points out, there are some scenes that show clear parallels between the two videos.

Of course, originality is a flexible term in advertising. Earlier this year, we saw TVNZ Blacksand come under criticism for its Survivor promo, which was accused of plagiarising Colenso BBDO's 2016 commercial for the launch of Frucor's V Pure. Further parallels to the video's high-energy montage style can be seen in overseas examples, such as a Guinness’ ‘Black’ campaign and Coco der Mer’s sexually charged ‘X’ spot, which the team at Colenso cited as serving as inspiration for its work with V Pure.

Recently, ASB released its first TV spot via With Collective called the 'Ghost of San Francisco'. However, as one keen-eyed commenter pointed out, the ad's premise shows a number of similarities to a Nike campaign that ran in Australia during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The ads show 'History' in the form of an old man taunting Australia for its record in football. The campaign was developed by Publicis Mojo Australia.

The controversy doesn't stop there, with Clemenger BBDO Australia's 'Meet Graham' spot reportedly being dismissed by the Integrated and Titanium jurors at the Cannes Lions this year for being too similar to 'The Natural Born Smoker', a 1985 ad by FCO London. The creator's of 'Meet Graham' deny being influenced by the anti-smoking spot.

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