Air New Zealand’s Mid-Air Disco Party Video #RICHROLL

Air New Zealand’s Mid Air Disco Party Video #RICHROLL

I'm usually full of strong opinions about online video and social media marketing, but after watching the newest Air New Zealand video "Mile-High Madness with Richard Simmons! #RICHROLL," I'm not sure if it's the best thing I've ever seen or if I should go punch myself in the eyeballs. From either a creative perspective, or a marketing perspective, I can't make up my mind so I'm going to throw my thoughts up into this little air sickness bag I like to call a post, seal the bag, hit publish and see what happens.

The video starts out with a predictably amiable pair of flight attendants that want to run me through a few in-flight safety exercises before we take off. But suddenly that acid tab I dropped circa 1978 kicks in as Richard Simmons dances in doing a tribute to Studio 54 with my flight attendants in tow, who have changed their outfits and they're disco dancing with him and a bunch of other spandex-clad dancers on loan from Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical" video. This is shaping up to be the best flight ever. "Stretch and slide... yeah!... you're a giraffe!”

Richard walks us through a bunch of stuff you have to know about before you can ride on a plane, as if you're going to remember any of it anyway, when you're screaming for your life and clawing your way towards the exit as the plane heads for the ground. But maybe there's an oral TSA quiz you have to pass at the airport while you're putting your shoes back on so I continue to pay attention.

Just when I'm wondering why they call the video "Mile-High Madness" Richard tries to make out with Aussie broadcaster Paul Henry at 2:40 in the video and I'm thinking this is genius. The first in-flight porno ever! But no such luck. A rejected Richard just carries on with his dance routine as we learn about more things like turning off our Iphones.

Initial Conclusions

My initial creative conclusion is that this video is the coke-induced love child of an Old Navy commercial and the dance scene from Ben Stiller's version of Starsky and Hutch.

My initial marketing conclusion is that Air New Zealand is trying new things using old things and considering the recent success of a previously irrelevant Betty White, why not?

Another current video from Air New Zealand involves Snoop Dogg rapping with what appears to be a giant vampire-squirrel named Rico. I got about halfway through before my disco high started to wear off and I had to go pop in my Boogie Nights DVD, fire up my disco ball and wonder what the response would have been if they had done the same thing as a flash dance mob in the middle of a busy commuter terminal at O'Hare? The reactions would have been priceless.

The views have gone from 40,000 Sunday night to over 130,000 this morning so the video is gaining airspeed. Here are some of the Youtube comments:

bwrightau  says "What just happened?”

Glory2die  says "LOVE THE COMMERCIAL! man i i think ima get to a new zealand flight! amazing”

And dVkPhotography  says "What's an oxen mask?”

So, What did I learn from this latest Air New Zealand Video?

  1. There's an airline called Air New Zealand
  2. Richard Simmons is still awkwardly relevant
  3. Disco never died, it just moved to New Zealand

These are all good things to know so I'm going to predict good things for Air New Zealand and their marketing wackiness. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one! Is this awesome marketing or not?


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About the Author -
David Murdico is the Executive Creative Director and Managing Partner with Supercool Creative, a Los Angeles based viral marketing agency specializing in online video creative, production, viral and social media marketing for brands including THQ, T-Mobile and IBM. In addition to a self-admitted obsession with viral marketing, David has worked as a commercial spot director, TV comedy writer, sketch writer and commercial art director. David's Twitter is @DavidMurdico. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.facebook.com/dianna.helm Dianna Conlon Helm

    I don't know what is scarier. The fact that Air New Zealand is using this video or Richard Simmons flesh colored tights!

  • http://twitter.com/TopVidmakers A H Productions

    Um, pretty annoying but that is why it is viral...

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Fun video for sure, and a good way to have people actually pay attention to inflight instructions. But as for whether it's successful marketing, that will depend on if New Zealand airlines sees an increase in flight bookings, right? I realize these things don't happen overnight, but it seems that's why doing continual videos is just as important to keep people's awareness. (I'm not talking about getting a celebrity or high production every time, but at least this builds initial engagement. I'm just saying it's a first step of getting attention and awareness of the brand. So why not expand that now to what customers want in an airline they choose to book with?)