Oz rugby stars cast as aliens in safety video.

Air New Zealand says its experience with Warner Bros and The Hobbit helped it secure rights to the Sony Pictures movie Men In Black for the airline's latest safety video.

"[Sony] had confidence we knew what we were doing," says Air NZ's head of global brand development, Jodi Williams.

The airline and its Grey Lynn ad agency, True, pulled out all the stops for the new safety video, which is linked with its recently renewed five-year sponsorship of the All Blacks.

The video features Israel Dagg and musician Stan Walker. Aussie rugby players including David Campese are made up as aliens.


It is very slick. The MIB video follows others designed to get passengers to take notice of emergency instructions that are important but also tend to be notoriously dull.

Lately, the Air NZ videos have leaned heavily on The Hobbit, but they have taken many other forms. Bear Grylls has had a run and years back, you might remember, Air NZ took a rather odd turn with the sleazy, foul-mouthed puppet Rico. This latest effort is 10 times classier than that.

Clearly, there is a promotional aspect to the safety videos as well. Otherwise, why would Air New Zealand use the All Blacks?

And I'd be surprised if the timing was coincidental, given that we are on the cusp of the Rugby World Cup, which starts on September 18.

But there is no direct association with the World Cup team, and there is not allowed to be. That is because sponsorship of the All Blacks does not carry over to the World Cup, which is sponsored by Emirates.

And anyway, it is far from certain that Dagg will be in the team that plays for the Cup.

The Men In Black video is a lot of fun and a great promotion.

But I wonder how it will work for its primary purpose as a safety video.


Will a passenger with English as a second language pick up the finer points of how to put on an oxygen mask when they are delivered by Dagg singing rap?

Williams says Air New Zealand was conscious of that issue, and had Civil Aviation Authority representatives ensuring that the video provided clear and concise instructions.

When delivered in aircraft cabins, the instructions come with subtitles.

Meanwhile, NZ Rugby is busy preparing for the marketing side of the World Cup, including checking ad campaigns by sponsors - both international and national.

New Zealand Rugby is putting a lot of effort into its social media operation and has even taken space on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Weibo.

Bum note

Fonterra has received plenty of past criticism for the number and efficiency, or otherwise, of its communications team, and its cost. But I was still surprised by the terse reaction offered yesterday to a very worthy Fonterra campaign sponsoring the Grass Roots Fund, which backs projects that "bring our rural communities together".

In a tweet, Federated Farmers' Dairy Industry Group chairman Andrew Hoggard suggested: "Perhaps we could give the feel-good projects the arse this year and put that money towards helping sharemilkers." More work for the communications team.


The Maori TV board meeting next week may decide whether to move the channel's studios to Rotorua - or whether a proposal from West Auckland urban Maori authority boss John Tamihere, backed by Willie Jackson in South Auckland, will get the go-ahead. The pair would prefer to see the studios move to West Auckland.

Insiders say chief executive Paora Maxwell - who is from the Arawa tribe - backs the Bay of Plenty proposal, as does the local MP and Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.

A shift away from the Newmarket studios looks inevitable, but a move to Rotorua would create a lot of friction between traditional iwi and urban Maori authorities such as the Waipareira Trust.

The change coincides with legislation developed by the Maori Party, which brings control of Maori broadcasting more directly under iwi control, which is expected to come into force next year. The legislation was recently amended so the urban authorities will have representation on the new ruling body, Te Matawai.

Join together

Communications Agencies Association president Simon Lendrum detects a drift back to closer relations between the media and creative arms of ad agencies. The agencies are facing big changes as consumers adapt to new ways of using media, and Lendrum believes media and creative types are getting closer again, as in the late '80s.