Air New Zealand
From backpacker shuttle to premium airline
Taking Air New Zealand on a journey
We started working with Air New Zealand's UK team in 2008. The partnership was so successful that we now collaborate with them across Europe and North America too.
In that time, we've helped them change perceptions from 'a so-so airline for New Zealand-bound backpackers', to an innovative premium airline with a uniquely modern service style and connections to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Is it just a Kiwi thing?
Most airline advertising gets it so wrong. It focuses on the hard product – the seat width, the food, the blanket – and paints a laughably unrealistic picture of what flying's like, where beautifully made-up people awake to a perfect croissant.
Savvy flyers know that really, it's the service that makes the difference between awful and exceptional. When we visited Heathrow to meet Air New Zealand's staff, we were amazed at how good they were: friendly, flexible, funny and effortless. They told us that this was the 'Kiwi Spirit' – and we said they should demonstrate it in their advertising.
For the next campaign, we took our existing insight and combined it with this inspiring tweet from a satisfied customer.
The 'Personality Allowed' campaign made full use of digital outdoor media at a time when most brands were still using them for static images. Our ads literally turned heads as the Kiwi crewed waved, mimed and danced on the posters.
The campaign was fully integrated across every channel, from crew newsletters to trade emails. As a result, awareness among premium passengers shot up by a fifth.
Forget everything you know about flying
Air New Zealand already had the best crew; now they needed the best cabins. They'd spent three years secretly perfecting their revolutionary new cabin design and flight experience, and they were ready to shout about it. Innovations included a completely new premium economy seat, enhanced beds in Business Premier, freshly cooked food, and the ability to order snacks on demand.
We knew these improvements would transform the in-flight experience and prove Air New Zealand's credentials as a world leader in travel. Our job was to bring them to life and show customers that flying didn't have to be the way it's always been.
Our campaign line came directly from this thought: "Forget everything you know about flying".
We executed the campaign's six core messages across digital, outdoor and print. We also built on our previous use of innovative online formats by including a Guardian content page takeover to engage a highly-targeted audience.
Mason & Jason
One of the features of Air New Zealand's new cabin design was the amazing Skycouch: an economy seat that lies flat. They asked us to talk to their US audience about the Skycouch in a typically Kiwi fashion.
We thought the product was ideal for couples and young families, so having come up with the concept of 'Cuddle Class', we started work on a high-cut-through, never-before-seen way to promote it.
The answer was inseparable sheep twins Mason and Jason. We created a series of web films to tell their story: how they'd been unable to fly until the invention of the Skycouch, and how much easier it had made things for them on board.
We weren't too surprised to find that our sheep twins got a lot of attention. They featured on leading sites including Mashable and the Huffington Post, and over 100,000 people watched their YouTube videos on the first day. Viewing figures are now well over a million for organic search alone, and Skycouch sales – like Mason and Jason themselves – have never been higher.