Forget everything you know about flying

I have noticed with this blog that I am easily sidetracked. I am often overwhelmed with an irrepressible urge to blog about something that I have just seen (I have poor short term memory), and subsequently forget my original reason for being online…

This partially explains the gradual topic diversification and blog description ambiguity (no mastermind specialist subject), as my initial writing subject (advertising), expanded to art which has recently encompassed a more general focus on design and culture. An unfortunate outcome of this is that my discussions on advertising have become rather art-related – watcheable campaign videos, socially persuasive strategies and lots on creating consumer experiences, which I love. The consequence is that I have become commercially obtuse – ignorant to the fact that advertising is in essence about driving sales and brand awareness, and easily swayed by aesthetically-pleasing traditional media campaigns or gloriously “out-there” alternatives. Thus, faced with the realisation that I have neglected a whole section of the profession (apologies), I give to you Albion London‘s wonderful digital work for Air New Zealand (October 2010).

There are two main element to this integrated campaign which I particularly like, and which are best viewed here on Albion’s own website (for the full immersive effect). They each form part of Air New Zealand’s continuing commitment to offer a new flying experience – including the enticing “totally new premium economy seat to suit individual personality types, the Economy Skycouch and enhanced beds in Business Premier… fresh food cooked onboard and the ability to order snacks on demand”. I am sold, and funnily enough that is what attracted me to this campaign as the execution of the banner ads and digital media was “click-through” good and innovative enough to win a Webby 2011 award.

The first aspect I like is the “Guardian takeover” banner ad promoting the airline’s premium food –

This consists of an beaming air hostess – dressed in an purple outfit that makes Easyjet’s orange look like Vogue – walking towards you. She then pokes her arm through the banner ad to reach for a plate of food leering, a healthy splurge of colourful veg and chunky Kiwi steak, to your right. This all sounds rather creepy but it isn’t, in fact it is an advert well served and nicely garnished amongst the Guardian cuisine section. If only banner ads were usually this good.

The second bit of the campaign that I enjoyed is the Personal Space Invaders game, which I found deceptively difficult with my mouse pad – to the extent that the air hostess grimaced a lot and I got slightly frustrated (thereby a fully ‘engaged’ consumer!).

Again the air hostess is wearing that tasteless uniform, but this time she is waiting to fight. The objective of the game is essentially to stop the air hostess getting angry or protect her (I can’t work out which) by clicking on the words flying, and dangerously swirling towards her. These include words like “stretchers”, “recliners”, “yawners” – all bizarre derogatory remarks about your fellow passengers, but which somehow works in the context as Air New Zealand grasps your frustrations too. These adverts therefore work because they are different – they capture, highlight, underline and capitalise all the reasons why passengers should choose Air New Zealand, and in the process show how the airline stands out. USPs sold in a unique manner – now that is something I am not going to forget.


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