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Air New Zealand – the airline brand that gives us something (good) to talk about

2009 October 19
by Jeremy

Air New Zealand is building a powerful brand by focusing on improving its Psychological values, something cannot be matched by its rivals quickly.


I am very excited about Air New Zealand, even though I have never flown with them – yet.

What grabbed my attention, and many other’s, are Air New Zealand’s innovative, social media savvy and buzz-generating marketing campaigns. And we, the traveling public, are increasingly curious about the airline, and personally, I can’t wait to experience the airline when the appropriate occasion arises!

1. Nothing to hide

The “Nothing to hide” campaign was designed to differentiate Air New Zealand from competing airlines who charge passengers additional fees for checking bags and for drinks onboard. Air New Zealand have airfares that include baggage allowances and refreshments.

The controversial and widely publicized TV advertising campaign, Nothing to hide, was launched on 10 May 2009.

It featured more than ninety Air New Zealand staff, eight of whom were chosen for starring roles and who swapped their real uniforms for a body painted version. Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe made a cameo appearance in full body-paint.


Air New Zealand also made a in-flight safety video using the same theme, the safety video, called “The Bare Essentials of Safety”, it has garnered more than 4 million views on Air NZ’s official You Tube channel alone.

The messages here are really not that different from any other airline safety announcements, how many of us have plugged our ears with iPods or buried our heads in magazines during the safety announcements onboard other airlines’ flights?

Not if you are onboard an ANZ flight, the way they delivered it, you couldn’t help but pay attention!


Check out “Behind the scenes”-  making of these videos at Air New Zealand’s Nothing To Hide site:


It seems that Air New Zealand just issued a challenge to Southwest Airlines and its CEO Mr. Herb Kelleher, how exciting! Check it out here:


2. The Match Making Flight and Party

On Oct 15, 2009, one hundred single Americans set a world-first for inter-hemisphere mingling,  meeting 150 love-seeking Kiwis at Air New Zealand’s Great Matchmaking Party at a ultra-glam bar, Twentyone, in Auckland. The singles had connected up to six-months prior via a social network established for Air New Zealand’s Matchmaking Flight, and this 250-person event offered U.S. and N.Z. singles the chance to meet face-to-face, testing whether “opposites attract” applies to travelers from the opposite side of the globe.

Has Air New Zealand decided to enter the match making business? That is probably not their plan. Air transportation has always been about helping people make a connection – for business or pleasure. And what better connection can one make than finding love? 

According to Kathryn Gregory, Air New Zealand’s marketing director for the Americas, “The jury is still out on whether long-distance love will come to fruition down under, but from the stories Air New Zealand crew and on-ground staff have shared, I’m confident there have been some magnetic connections, Air New Zealand has always focused on providing our customers with life-changing experiences, and when it comes to the Matchmaking Flight, what’s more life-changing than falling in love?!”

Once again, Air New Zealand’s fantastic crew members came through and provided fun and excitement with a rousing performance of “Single ladies” at the party.


Find more photos like this on The Matchmaking Flight


3. The Pink Flight

We are always exploring new and creative ways to demonstrate the casual elegance and quirkiness of New Zealand’s culture," said Roger Poulton, Air New Zealand vice president – the Americas. "Air New Zealand reflects the country’s diversity-embracing nature and celebrates people from all walks of life. This initiative is one of the many ways we strive to serve our guests, and you can expect many additional kiwi surprises throughout the year.

4. Other brand defining sponsorships:

The Air New Zealand brand name is also associated with several other major events in New Zealand:

- The Air New Zealand Cup 

- The Air New Zealand Fashion Week

Featured performance at the ANZFW 09:


5. Marketing / Branding lessons we can learn from Air New Zealand

In spite of all these clever, innovative marketing campaigns, for an airline brand to succeed, it has to provide tangible values for its customers, in Air New Zealand’s case, these values are well recognized by its customers, here are some awards the airline has won recently:

  • Best Cabin Staff Australia/NZ Region – 2009 World Airline Awards by Skytrax
  • Best Passenger Service Award – 2008 Air Transport World magazine awards
  • Best Airline to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand – 2007 by Business Traveler Magazine
  • Australasia’s Leading Business Class Airline- 2007  the 14th Annual world Travel Awards

However, tangible values,  such as new aircraft, spacious cabin, comfortable seats, good food and services, as important as they are, can be easily matched by competitors.

Increasingly, Psychological brand values, very common and powerful ones such as fun, pride, status, artistic taste, personal bond and aspirations, are becoming the deciding factors that influence passengers in making their travel choices. These values, however, cannot be matched quickly, they have to be carefully planned and cultivated over a long period of time.

In helping its passengers connect with each other, Air New Zealand established a connection with its customers on a personal level; in showing off their bare body in an artistic way, the staffers helped to project a hip, trendy yet honest image of the airline. In dressing up in Pink, from the crew to the airplane itself, the airline really get the message across: we are open, we are accepting and we are ready to have fun!

By co-branding its name with crowd drawing events such as rugby competitions and fashion shows, Air New Zealand aims to inspire the same kind of passion people have for sports and fashion and extend it to the Air New Zealand brand name.

I am also impressed by how media savvy Air New Zealand is, they are active on Twitter, they build a Social network site to support the match making flight, they are also present on Facebook, You Tube and Flickr. Their social media prowess puts most North America based airlines to shame. 


Air New Zealand - SM Savvy

Air New Zealand - SM Savvy2

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