iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Air New Zealand has set out to take passengers on a flight of fantasy in its latest in-flight safety video, enlisting hobbits, orcs and elves to urge passengers to fasten their seatbelts. The video, a tie-in with Peter Jackson’s upcoming movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, features special effects from the director’s Weta Workshop, including a digital Gollum pointing out airplane safety lights.

Jackson makes a cameo in the four-and-a-half minute clip before disappearing when he puts on the precious ring, which was at the centre of the quest in his Oscar-winning Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The video also includes appearances by Mike and Royd Tolkien, great-grandsons of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien.

Air New Zealand marketing manager Mike Tod said that the video was part of a major global promotion linked to the movie, which will premiere in Wellington later this month. “We will invest several million dollars in Australia, Asia, the United States and Europe on uniquely Air New Zealand marketing efforts related to The Hobbit movies to attract more tourists to New Zealand,” he said.

The airline has previously had safety videos featuring cabin staff wearing nothing but body paint, New Zealand’s famous All Blacks rugby union team, and US rapper Snoop Dogg. One safety briefing, featuring camp US fitness guru Richard Simmons taking passengers through pre-flight routines on a plane decked out like a disco, has more than 2.6 million hits on YouTube.

The Hobbit stars Martin Freeman, known for his role in TV series The Office, as Bilbo Baggins. Other big names include Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, and Stephen Fry.