Kick it for touch: Air New Zealand changes tack with new All Blacks safety video

After years of missteps, Air New Zealand has today launched a new safety video that gets to the point, without patronising its audience. ‘Air All Blacks’ has launched in support of the team ahead of the World Cup in Japan next month – and it’s a star-studded line-up.

Critics of the airline’s previous video can rest assured, there isn’t a single rap wannabe in sight.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen along with captain Kieran Read, Sam Cane, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ryan Crotty join a diverse cast in the safety video which takes views inside the headquarters of ‘newly established airline’ Air All Blacks. Joining the roundtable discussion on the ‘first’ safety video for the airline are Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis (who seamlessly integrates te reo Māori into the spot), former Black Ferns captain Fiao ‘o Fa’amausili, young Kiwi kids and Air New Zealand crew. 

Developed by Vision Thing and Exposure, the new video also features US actor Rick Hoffman, playing his Suits character Louis Litt, insisting on joining the spitball session as the next Air New Zealand spokesman. 

Hoffman first visited New Zealand in 2017, and in 2018 he took to Twitter to praise the airline for his in-flight experience. He says the airline’s reputation for making engaging safety videos was a huge drawcard to being involved. 

“Air New Zealand is renowned for its safety videos and for risk-taking and creativity. People want to see something fun onboard and Air New Zealand just has so much fun.”

The video also gives members of the renowned 1987 All Blacks squad a chance to be in on the action, in celebration of the airline’s 20-year partnership with New Zealand Rugby. Sir Michael Jones, Sir John Kirwan, Buck Shelford, Gary Whetton and David Kirk all represent that famous team. The safety video is backed by the exclusive, original track ‘Universe’ by Kiwi-favourite SIX60. It will be available to stream on Spotify from Friday 9 August. 

Much to New Zealand’s collective relief, the new video does without the mind-numbing concept pieces of previous safety videos, and mostly sticks to the functional purpose of the video.

Previous missteps include November 2018’s ‘It’s Kiwi Safety‘ video with True and Exposure, which was ridiculed online for being ‘cringe’ and ’embarrassing’. It was ditched by the airline after only three months in the skies. Since February, Air New Zealand has been running the 2016 ‘Summer of Safety’ video with Rachel Hunter. 

Another criticised safety video in 2018, was the ‘World’s Coolest Safety Video’ with Hollywood actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier – set and filmed in Antarctica. The significance of the location was not lost of viewers, as it was the site of New Zealand’s worst disaster, the 1979 Mt Erebus crash. It was described by some media outlets as a ‘high gloss cultural cringe safety video’, ‘grossly insensitive’ and ‘distasteful’.

YouTube commenters have already praised the video the site, with one saying: “Awesome! Not annoying, unoffensive and how can Air NZ go wrong with some national pride in a world cup [sic] year”. Another said: ‘Thank god it isn’t another stupid rap video! I will actually enjoy this one!”.

In a nod to the previous All Blacks safety video for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Stan Walker and former All Black Israel Dagg reprise their roles as Air New Zealand passengers – with input from former Wallaby captain George Gregan. 

Air New Zealand general manager (global brand and content marketing) Jodi Williams says the latest video is a futuristic take on two iconic Kiwi brands coming together to show the world just how much rugby is in our DNA. 

“Changing our name to Air All Blacks is a fun demonstration of our support for the boys in black. Our people feel a great sense of pride flying the team around the world and both organisations consistently show the world what a huge impact a small nation can make on the world stage.”

The release of ‘Air All Blacks’ marks the ten-year anniversary of Air New Zealand’s unique take on safety videos – some more beloved than others. 

“It’s been incredible to celebrate both local and international stars, fans and our very own Air New Zealanders over the past ten years,” Williams says. 

“It’s only fitting that this video brings to life something that is distinctly New Zealand – from the grassroots of Rippa Rugby to the nostalgia of the 1987 All Blacks, with a modern twist.”

‘Air All Blacks’ will be rolled out across Air New Zealand’s international and domestic fleet from today.

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