Air New Zealand gets a hunger for the wild with new Bear Grylls safety video—UPDATED

Hobbit mania has thankfully subsided (although some embers sparked yesterday after the release of a few interesting emails). And Air New Zealand is back with another new safety video, this time featuring intrepid explorer/eater/showman Bear Grylls, who traipses around the Fiordland wilderness and helps to promote the airline’s $3 million commercial partnership with the Department of Conservation

The Bear Essentials of Safety clip, which was filmed on and around the Routeburn Track late last year, rolls out across the Air New Zealand fleet from today and it follows the airlines previous efforts like An Unexpected Briefing, Crazy About Rugby, Fit To Fly, the less impressive animated spot with Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey and the one that started it all, The Bare Essentials of Safety.

UPDATE: Air New Zealand used True as its creative agency, not its two agencies of record DraftFCB or Saatchi & Saatchi, and Exposure’s Kevin Denholm directed. Executive creative director Craig Pethybridge worked at Air New Zealand’s last agency .99 for nine years.  


The famous adventurer and top selling author, whose TV shows have been watched by more than one billion people in 182 countries, is joined by renowned Kiwi entomologist Ruud Kleinpaste (also known as The Bug Man) and three Kiwi Scouts (Grylls is chief scout to the UK Scout Association) and has to contend with a cast of native creatures, including a kea, a tuatara, native glow worms and the extinct flightless New Zealand bird, the Moa. 

“New Zealand is a country that I have always called my home away from home and I feel so proud to be involved with this campaign,” Grylls says. “We shot in a truly amazing setting with an amazing team and that is always a privilege.”

Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod says Grylls, who has more than nine million Facebook fans and nearly a million followers on Twitter, was the ideal in-flight safety ambassador.

“Bear was the ideal partner to help us bring to life important on-board safety messages in a unique and compelling way, while at the same time demonstrating the best of what New Zealand has to offer. We hope the global attention this safety video will receive generates more awareness of our amazing country and gets a few more bums on seats.  The video builds perfectly off the back of the strong imagery generated globally by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and was worth the logistical challenges involved to create it.”

He says the video would not have been possible without the support of the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), which the airline sponsors (it used this connection for its recent Great Walker promotion). 


“Air New Zealand and DOC have developed a deep partnership where we can combine our assets for the benefit of our nation.  DOC is the custodian of some of the best environmental tourism experiences in the world and it’s a privilege to bring these to life on the global stage through our world-class marketing capability.  In particular, the work we are doing together in promoting the nine Great Walks in New Zealand is really starting to show some positive results.”

DOC director general Al Morrison says the project reflects the common interest both organisations share in enhancing New Zealand’s wildlife and its special places.

“Air New Zealand is also actively supporting our biodiversity and species translocation programmes around the country, including the Routeburn Track where the video was shot. We are very pleased to be working with a business leader that understands the value of investing in conservation.”

Online viewers of the new video can be in to win a trip for two to New Zealand from anywhere in the world to complete the Great Kiwi Bucket List. The prize includes a ten day New Zealand holiday with the winner’s choice of six adventure activities from a list that ranges from swimming with dolphins in Doubtful Sound to hot air ballooning across the Canterbury Plains. 

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