Why Air New Zealand spends so much money on those elaborate safety videos

Sep 4, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Air New Zealand is a tiny player in the European market, with just one daily flight to London Heathrow, and a small player in the U.S. market, with just five destinations.  The airline has only 30 wide-body aircraft, compared with British Airways, which has 133 wide-body aircraft, and Air Canada, which has 74.

You may have never flown Air New Zealand before, but you may have seen its safety videos. Despite the airline’s small size and limited budget, it spends a huge amount on safety videos. While some airlines may stick with the same video for years, using the mindset of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Air New Zealand is different. The carrier has produced elaborate new safety videos about every six months for the past 10 years.

Why does such a small airline devote so much energy and money to something many passengers barely watch on other carriers? The more interesting the video, the more likely a passenger is to watch it — and safety is paramount for every airline. But that is not the primary motivation for Air New Zealand.

Jodi Williams, General Manager of Brand and Content for the airline, told the World Aviation Festival in London this week that Air New Zealand’s safety videos have become such a viral sensation that it makes sense to outspend larger competitors in this area and use the videos as a unique marketing opportunity.

When the airline enters new markets where other carriers already operate, those carriers usually outspend Air New Zealand by a margin of 10-to-1 on traditional marketing, Williams says.  So the airline has had to get creative, and now considers itself a “disrupter” in the category.

For some of those videos, the airline has recruited famous faces who don’t necessarily have any link to New Zealand — like Snoop Dogg, Betty White, Bear Grylls and Richard Simmons — but whose presence gets people talking. As the quirky videos spread by word of mouth, they help prospective customers learn more about the airline, according to Williams. 

The videos also have promoted the carrier as the Airline of Middle Earth (tourism is the No. 1 industry in New Zealand and “Lord of the Rings” was filmed there).

Air New Zealand’s safety videos are widely viewed and shared on YouTube, often before potential passengers even book a flight or board one of its planes. The airline has racked up over 200 million views of its safety videos online in the past 10 years — figures that larger airlines can only dream of.

While some might view the videos as silly, Air New Zealand says it’s a strategy that has worked well — and the proof is in the numbers.

 Featured image by Air New Zealand.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.