Viral Now: Air New Zealand Lands in Middle Earth, Safely

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | October 30, 2014
The video, which received over 8.8 million views, is a follow up to the safety videos featuring Hobbit characters.

If Middle Earth were actually a place, which country would lay claim to it? The folks at Air New Zealand seems to be hinting that they know the place and are welcoming everyone to their flight to Middle Earth - and safety.

The brand's recent 'most epic safety video' features Frodo, or Elijah Wood, who is a passenger on an ANZ flight. Two Hobbit-enthusiasts are travelling in the same flight and are delighted to find their favourite character. However, that is just the beginning as the stewardess turns out to be an elf giving out safety instructions. A giant then comes to help passengers with the oxygen mask while a wizard riding a big eagle demonstrates the crash landing position.

The epic safety video by Air New Zealand

To bring some comic relief, an elf is also presented a child-sized life jacket. The video also features Sir Peter Jackson, Dean O'Gorman, and Sylvester McCoy, as well as Weta Workshop co-founder Sir Richard Taylor, who gets dwarfed inside a giant airline seat. The film ends with Frodo standing in front his house at The Shire and giving out the last bit of safety advice.

The video went live on October 22 and has, so far, garnered 8.8 million views on YouTube. Weta Digital worked on the visual effects while Weta Workshop did the costumes, make up and prosthetics. The two companies were involved in the Hobbit films as well.

What makes it remarkable is that the video is not just a digital campaign. The video will be played during take-offs on Air New Zealand planes. This is a follow up to the airline's hugely successful 'An Unexpected Briefing' video from 2012 that has received over 12 million hits. Incidentally, the third and last film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of Five Armies, opens in December.

The trend of using film as part of campaign videos is catching on. Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, released a tribute to the Stanley Kubrick's horror flick, The Shining. The video tied up with the Halloween theme to show stores being kept open longer during the festival. In the video, just like in the movie, a young child rides his tricycle around the IKEA store - showing off the product range. The video, which went live on October 20 went viral too with over 3.7 million views on YouTube.

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