OPINION: It’s that time of year again when all the big corporations send out the warm and fuzzies to consumers as they remind us there’s a beating heart among the spreadsheets.
Air New Zealand, never one to shy away from a good festive video, has released its latest Christmas advert entitled A Magical Delivery.
It features a rather familiar looking Santa who is told he can’t get into Aotearoa this year, so he calls on the help of the national carrier to deliver the presents.
Luckily the advert is, of course, a work of fiction (like Frodo) because Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has already reassured everyone that Santa has secured a place in MIQ.
So how does it compare to previous efforts from Air New Zealand? Here’s a quick look at adverts from Christmas past.
2015 – ‘Very Kiwi Christmas’ aka the one that’s genuinely touching
Hankies at the ready as Air New Zealand introduces us to six-year-old Archie. The youngster is worried that Santa won’t be able to find him in his new house.
Well Kiwi ingenuity, as well as the entire lighting sections from a couple of Warehouses, sees hero Dad and a few mates light up a field with a “Santa Stop Here” sign.
2016 – ‘Summer Wonderland’ aka the one with Ronan Keating and Julian Dennison
Let me bring you back to a time when the words “Julian Dennison” and “advert” didn’t strike fear into your hearts.
This was Hunt for the Wilderpeople time and Air New Zealand roped in the hot young actor to link up with another hot young star at the time … emmm Ronan Keating.
Verdict: Compared to the It’s Kiwi Safety video this is like Adele and Ed Sheehan had a musical baby. So pretty much “nice” and “naughty”.
2017 – ‘A Very Merry Mistake’ aka the one where they take the ‘muckey’ out of the Kiwi accent
Air New Zealand hit its stride in 2017 with this gentle “puss” take of the New Zealand accent. The advert was a huge hit online, featured on many “best of” lists, and picked up several awards. Although not everyone was a fan.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind a “puggy” bank or a book of magic trucks.
2018 – ‘The Nicest Christmas Ever’ aka the one with a mini Donald Trump
‘Makes Christmas Great Again’ was the slogan, so you can guess who this advert was ribbing.
The Naughty Kids Summit looks a bit like a junior version of the Discover the 8th wonder of the world safety video, but I digress. Thankfully New Zealand comes to the rescue of all the naughtiest kids pledging to do the chores, spend less time on phones and be nicer to Australia (lie).
Verdict: Naughty. There’s more than enough politics already.
2020 – ‘Twas the Flight before Christmas’ aka the one outside a dairy
After a break in 2019, Air New Zealand came back with a stripped back, less lavish production, set in a more humble location – outside a dairy in Tauranga.
More a product of the time as Covid raged around the world, the ad is still a sweet gift-giving exercise to the children who sit in Santa’s magic plane.
The best airline Christmas advert ever?
Finally, just for comparison, here is what is often regarded as one of the best airline Christmas adverts ever.
The video from Canada’s WestJet has had close to 50 million views and spawned countless imitations. Getting presents for a planeful of passengers was a huge undertaking but ultimately gained the airline all the feel-good brownie points.
I do feel a bit sad for the guy who only wanted socks and underwear though.
See also: Air New Zealand scraps ’embarrassing’ safety video
See also: Airline pitches New Zealand as world’s eighth wonder