Where to next? Air NZ launches a long-term brand campaign via True

Air New Zealand has released a new brand campaign, called ‘Where to next?’ with quite a different, more emotive approach from its safety videos, online content and recent TVCs. The airline says this campaign will be around for “several years” and this is merely phase one. 

The new campaign features a compilation of clips from the different countries the airline flies to including some stunning footage of New Zealand. Gin Wigmore sings the backing track which is her own rendition of ‘Tomorrow’ from the musical Annie.

“A cornerstone of our well-publicised Go Beyond plan is to supercharge New Zealand’s success and this campaign will inspire more Kiwis to think about where to next for them personally as much as it will for friends and families thinking about their next overseas trip, business opportunities etc,” Air New Zealand head of global brand development Jodi Williams says.

“This campaign has been 18 months in the planning and we are incredibly proud of it, she says. “’Where to next?’ will be around for several years and this is only phase one.”

Williams says the airline spent a lot of time last year talking to consumers before arriving at ‘Where to next?’ as the strategic platform for the campaign. “It perfectly summed up what we have done as a business in the past, but more so it provides us with something aspirational as we look forward to the future,” she says. “We too, as an airline are always asking where to from here and what is possible for Air New Zealand and its people and our nation.”

As a client and agency team it worked closely with its director, Kevin Denholm, on bringing this campaign to life, she says. “ … it was with Denholm’s treatment and process that he was able to deliver real moments with real everyday Kiwis at home and around the world.”

One of the films mentions Air New Zealand’s support of DOC to look after our national heritage, and its support of the “brightest rugby players” as well as other people and organisations it sponsors.

We support DOC, are a key sponsor of the All Blacks, Lisa Carrington, World of Wearable Arts plus we have a cargo business that exports some fantastic New Zealand companies and their produce to the world, Williams says. “We also felt that Peter Beck represents a contemporary face of New Zealand business.  He has definitely challenged the norm and gone out and set-up a business that is taking on the world.”

A microsite was also created for the campaign, which features interviews with Wigmore and Beck.

We asked why Air New Zealand felt the need to create a new brand campaign rather than continuing its focus on its safety and online videos. We also wondered whether it was in response to some recent decisions around regional airports.

Williams says each of its campaigns have different objectives or jobs to do. “The safety videos have an exceptionally strong place and purpose.  And aside from communicating a very important safety message onboard our aircraft they enable us to get cut-through and [get]global PR coverage that we wouldn’t normally afford through traditional channels in key international markets. In fact, the next safety video is just around the corner, watch this space, it’s going to pretty special.”

She says Air New Zealand is inextricably linked to New Zealand. “And over the past 75 years it’s become part of the very fabric of New Zealand life and we’ve been there for New Zealanders in both the good times and the bad,” she says.

“We are fortunate to have a strong and proud brand that has been further lifted coming off the back of our 75th year anniversary and celebrations. ‘Where to next’ is a strategic five-year initiative.”

Williams says three 90-second commercials were distilled down from more than 70 hours of footage. “It is a digital led strategy supported by oOh!. And you’ll see different content and stories start to evolve over the coming months. It lays the foundation for a long-term, sustained brand campaign that we are incredibly proud of.” 

Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, she says. “ … through multiple channels whether that is via social, our internal staff, shareholders and other business partners. There has been a tremendous sense of pride and optimism shared with our wider communities.”

We couldn’t help noticing some similarities between the current campaign and Expedia’s ‘Where’s your somewhere?’ campaign but Williams says Air New Zealand’s campaign was not influenced by this in any way.

“No. We began the process of developing this campaign 18 months ago and it is grounded in what consumers have told us through the research phase.”

She says Air New Zealand works with a number of great agencies here in New Zealand and offshore. “True leads all our brand and sponsorship work and we are extremely proud of what they and Kevin Denholm at Exposure have delivered. Likewise, FCB does an outstanding job with our market development work and has done for several years.”

The clips were filmed in five countries internationally and six major cities in addition to multiple locations across New Zealand from the Poor Knights down to Milford Sound and many spots in between, she says. “We were also able to feature our two new destinations that we start flying to in December this year: Houston, Texas, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.”

Wigmore was fantastic to work with, she says. “A very genuine person with a real eagerness to help us marry up her take on the song.”

“She has just launched an album and has had international success,” she says. “We’ve worked with her before as well. Creatively, the team knew she would be able to deliver an amazing rendition of what is quite a difficult song, but in her distinctive manner, matching emotion with the beautifully shot footage.”

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