Has the Hobbit craze snagged you yet? If it hasn’t yet, it will, especially if you watch Air New Zealand’s latest pre-flight safety video demonstration.

Not Boring!

Yes, you read that right. The airline produced an entire safety video filled with Hobbit characters. Not only has it entertained passengers but it’s also gone viral all over the web. What a great piece of content marketing – turning the mundane, necessary (and perhaps slightly unnerving) into both entertainment and genius sales pitch.

Powerful Punch!

In just four and a half minutes, Air New Zealand not only markets their airline, but also promotes New Zealand tourism and the third film of The Hobbit trilogy, which is coming to theaters the day after Christmas.

Marketing Genius

Peter Jackson’s films, based on the Tolkien books, have enjoyed wild success. And although avid fans will swear that it’s simply because the films themselves are so great, there is usually an unsung marketing genius behind every big hit. The Hobbit movies have been promoted in a variety of ways, including through Hobbit menus at Denny’s.


In that case, as with this video, a marketing match made in Heaven packs a powerful punch for both companies, one that results in a sum that is greater than its parts.

This video, starring Hobbit actors, also features a cameo by the filmmaker himself, and was directed by Taika Waititi. Waititi’s claim to fame is the 2010 mockumentary about vampires, “What We Do in the Shadows.” He directed that bit of fan boy jest with Jermaine Clements, who also directed “Flight of the Conchords.” Waititi has directed many other progressive commercials in New Zealand and the U.S.

The Business of Film

All of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, along with this Air New Zealand commercial, have been made at Jackson’s Weta Workshop and Weta Digital studios. This video took six days to shoot.

Jodi Williams, the airline’s head of global brand development, was quoted in the Hollywood reporter as being “confident” that the “final Hobbit-inspired on-board safety video will delight fans as much as the first one, and inspire even more people to consider a visit to Middle-earth.” Jackson referred to the project as “yet another fantastic video to celebrate The Hobbit films,” and told the Reporter that he, “had a lot of fun on the set with Taika and the team and look forward to seeing the video on board.”

The video had 31,000 views in its first 24 hours online.

The First Run

The first Lord of the Rings-inspired safety video came out in 2012, and was called “An Unexpected Briefing.” Take a gander:

“An Unexpected Briefing” has garnered more than 12 million views since it first went live. It’s no wonder the airline and studios decided to go for round two.

On the Map

Air New Zealand has definitely put itself on the map with its ingenious marketing. It will be interesting to see what happens to their bookings and their stock after this marketing push.