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Thank god it’s not another rap: Pitchblack releases Air NZ safety video

Pitchblack has restored faith in Air New Zealand safety videos with the launch of ‘A Journey to Safety’.

Creating Air New Zealand’s safety video could be considered the epitome of success for many Kiwi advertising agencies. However, after a decade of both successful and not so successful safety videos (2018’s rap video), the role can bring an overwhelming amount of pressure. Not only must it be entertaining for its viewers, the safety video also needs to live up to the expectations created after the video’s that came before.

Recently, Air New Zealand partnered with ad agency Pitchblack and the Department of Conservation to bring what might be the airline’s most inspirational safety video yet.

Centred around the impact of New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, ‘A Journey to Safety’ stars a young girl named Janey and Mr T the lost takahe, who together embark on a journey across the country to relocate the indigenous bird to his new home.

Using her aircraft-shaped treehouse, Janey, played by local actress Lily Roebeck, takes her toys and Mr T the takahe to stunning New Zealand locations including the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf and Waikato’s Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Accompanied by Air New Zealand flight attendants, Janey and the team deliver the safety video’s key focus, the biodiversity crisis.

General manager for Air New Zealand’s global brand and content marketing, Jodi Williams, says the latest safety video is a charming story with a serious message behind it.

“While it’s light-hearted on the surface, it conveys a really important message – our native birds need our help. Our safety videos have collectively generated more than 180 million views over the past decade, so what better medium to shine a spotlight on New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis,” she says.

“We’re really proud of the work we’re doing with DOC, and hope Kiwis and visitors alike will not only delight in our latest video but take on the message behind it.”

Although only formed in late 2018, the ad agency behind the video, Pitchblack, is already proving successful in New Zealand’s marketing industry.

After securing Air New Zealand’s safety video, Pitchblack has also been shortlisted for the highly desirable New World advertising account. For an upstart agency in a competitive industry, the company is more than proving its creative abilities.

In comparison to previous safety videos, ‘A Journey to Safety’ is difficult to dislike. Infectiously Kiwi, Pitchblack has ensured the safety video represents New Zealand and meets the airline’s standards.

As the 2018 ‘It’s Kiwi Safety’ rap video received an enormous wave of criticism and had to be axed after only three months of use, it was vital that the latest safety video was a success.

Following the safety video’s launch on 27 February, ‘A Journey to Safety’ has already received 1.7 million views on YouTube and has received a tremendous amount of positive comments.

“Finally, a video that you can actually watch. It covers the safety that needs to be covered and actually has a real subject that is educational,” one comment read.

“You’ve done it again Air New Zealand. KEI TE PAI. Another awesome safety video,” another wrote.

Kiwi commercial film director Josh Frizzell admits the task to create Air New Zealand’s safety video was a daunting one. Having already directed two safety videos for the national carrier before, Frizzell was approached to lead the team and happily accepted the challenge.

“There’s a lot riding on it. Part of it is that people are forced to watch it and therefore everyone has an opinion. But I could definitely see something in the idea. I thought there were certain ways we could negotiate the narrative to make it beautiful and keep it fun” he says.

Air New Zealand has worked with the Department of Conservation since 2012, transporting more than 3200 threatened species to safer spaces, contributing to pest traps across the country and supporting scientific research within New Zealand’s marine reserves.

“We’re really proud of the work we’re doing with DOC, and hope Kiwis and visitors alike will not only delight in our latest video, but take on the message behind it,” says Williams.

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