Youtube VideoWe've seen Rob Fyfe and various staff prancing about in the nude, the puerile puppet of indeterminate provenance and the All Blacks and Richard Simmons in the safety videos. And now we welcome Mason & Jason, "the truly inseparable sheep twins".
The online campaign, which was created by Air New Zealand's international agency Albion and Flying Fish, is similar in tone and weirdness to Rico's innuendo-filled guest spots and interviews, which were often conducted on the Economy Sky Couch. And while many struggled to understand the connection between a furry lothario with a poor grasp on English and a Kiwi airline, Rico haters—and cheeky Aussies—will no doubt be pleased to see the conjoined ovine twin spokesbeast at least has more of a connection to the country this time.
When Rico went live, there was an uproar from one side of the ledger about a brand that was 'losing its way' with overblown and ill-thought out marketing. And on the other side there was much clicking of YouTube links and like buttons from those who loved the humour and appreciated the fact an airline was trying something different to garner attention.
Air New Zealand's response to the barrage was that it wasn't targeting domestic customers. As a tiny airline without the marketing budgets of its international competitors, it needed to get noticed with earned media, which kicked off the perennial debate about whether it is worse to be noticed for the wrong reasons or not noticed at all.
No doubt the same debate about Air New Zealand jumping the shark/sheep will continue with this online campaign, but whatever you think about the creative, kudos where kudos is due: Air New Zealand and its local agency .99 are among a very elite group of Kiwi brands and agencies that know how to run a successful viral campaign.