Air New Zealand’s recent marketing win at the Airline Strategy Awards had some of you questioning the actual value of the campaign in regards to the airline's bottom line. But it has continued its wit-inspired, celebrity-clad Rico videos and, much like Richard Simmons’ in-flight video appearance made some cringe, the latest celebrity to fly the online video skies with Air New Zealand could well have a similar shuddering effect. The latest online campaign sees Rico get Skycouch-cozy with a number of celebrities, first up, David Hasselhoff. That's two seedy characters in one video folks.
The video features “The Hoff” taking to the Skycouch seat with Rico in a therapy-like session in which he reveals that he found it hard doing mouth to mouth scenes with his female Baywatch colleagues, and that he far prefers being known as David Hasselhoff than The Hoff.
It’s filled with many a Hoff-related pun and it ends with the Hoff being presented with some black speedos with the word ‘Kiwi’ emblazoned in white across the rear.
While some may question the real value of Air New Zealand’s cheeky marketing campaigns, from a marketing perspective at least, it seems to have the support of YouTube Australia & New Zealand Head of Media Solutions Karen Stocks, who says Air New Zealand is continuing to push marketing boundaries.
"Air New Zealand is one of our most innovative advertisers on YouTube and the Rico campaign has been a worldwide success on our video platform," she says.
And for his part, Air New Zealand general manager of marketing Mike Tod reiterates why the video campaigns do ad tangible value to the brand.
“For a small airline at the bottom of the world we could never afford to reach so many potential customers through traditional marketing channel,” he says. “The opportunity for both Air New Zealand and New Zealand’s tourism industry is huge.”
Rico’s global popularity, says Tod, coupled with increased interest in Air New Zealand’s in-flight products and service, particularly in the United States, is an ideal platform to begin exploring online retail campaigns integrated within video content on YouTube.
“Social commerce is in its relative infancy. As Air New Zealand continues to the push the boundaries of social media engagement, we’re creating the opportunity to capitalise on the tens of millions of people who have engaged with the airline and may now be interested in travelling on us.”
Two more couch sessions with Rico have also been filmed and will be released in due course. They feature E! News host Giuliana Rancic and actor Lindsay Lohan.
Air New Zealand says the new Rico series makes it the first Kiwi company to run an online retail campaign integrated within video content on YouTube, offering those who visit Rico’s YouTube channel and watch the video the opportunity to obtain discounts on some of the airline’s key international routes, starting with flights between Los Angeles and London.