Most frequent travelers tune out during the safety demonstration at the beginning of a flight. But add some hobbits, elves and a wizard to the mix and millions of people will watch pre-flight, even if they're not flying.
That's just what Air New Zealand did in its new Tolkien-inspired video, "An Unexpected Briefing," which is No. 2 on the Viral Video Chart this week.
The movie features flight attendants dressed as elves that welcome passengers to "Middle-earth Air," a captain reminiscent of Gandalf the Grey , and a number of hairy-footed hobbit passengers. The video promotes the upcoming film "The Hobbit," which used New Zealand for much of its outdoor scenery. And while none of the stars of the film are in the video, it does include a cameo by the director, Peter Jackson. When the ring of power is shown falling to the ground, he picks it up, slips it on his finger, and then disappears.
At the end of the video, New Zealand Air offers viewers a chance to win passes to attend the world premiere of "The Hobbit" in Wellington. And if you are a Tolkien fan, there is no place you'd rather be in December when the movie is released. Not only has a giant Gollum statue been erected in the airport, but for three weeks before and after the premiere, the city will be known as "The Middle of Middle-earth."
While a film partnership is new for Air New Zealand, it has used this safety video formula before. In the past, nude flight attendants (in body paint), the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team and Richard Simmons have all taken a turn starring in the airline's videos.