Air New Zealand has always had a good sense of humor and a willingness to try new things. A few years ago, the airline ran an ad featuring naked employees with uniforms painted onto their bodies. Then the airline introduced a sleazy mascot named Rico that it thankfully killed off (but not without grabbing some attention with the death, of course).
The airline with the social media fairy just announced at the San Diego Comic-Con that it has signed a two-film co-branding deal with New Line Cinema and MGM for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, which will have it using Hobbit-branded aircraft, according to Marketing Magazine.
New Zealand, of course, is where the majority of principal photography was done for the film. Fans of Peter Jackson's earlier Lord of the Rings trilogy, which also struck a marketing partnership with Air New Zealand, often fly the airline to get over to New Zealand to see where some of their favorite scenes were put on film.
So the Official Airline of Middle Earth is once again going for a ride with the filmmakers, including committing to “two Hobbit-branded Boeing 777 airliners that will act as ‘flying billboards’ on routes between the UK and North America, and a new passenger safety video,” the magazine reports.
"New Zealand is clearly established as the home of Middle Earth and Air New Zealand will bring the magic to life for travelers,” stated Mike Tod, general manager, marketing at Air New Zealand. "This partnership follows on naturally from the success of Air New Zealand's relationship with The Lord of the Rings trilogy in raising New Zealand's profile as an international travel destination."
“The use of social media has grown exponentially since The Lord of the Rings trilogy and will play a big part in the way we’ll be connecting fans with both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again and destination Middle-earth over the coming two years, including a series of exclusive competitions and unique fan opportunities,” added Tod.
“Just as Peter Jackson is able to transport audiences to the magical world of Middle-earth, Air New Zealand brings people to the breathtaking landscape that has been home to these epic productions," commented Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. Pictures' President, Worldwide Marketing. "The promotions planned by Air New Zealand in support of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again are both eye-catching and innovative and we look forward to collaborating with them on the campaigns for both films.”