Air New Zealand safety video pulls in the viewers in China

2018-11-26 00:49:48

Air New Zealand's latest safety video may have divided Kiwis, but it's proving popular internationally - particularly in China.

It's Kiwi Safety has racked up 20 million online views since its launch three weeks ago, 10 million of which came from China, Air New Zealand has said.

Eli Tian, chief editor of the travel channel at iQiyi, one of the airline's content partners in China, said the video's rap soundtrack may lie behind its appeal in the country.

"It is no surprise Air New Zealand's new safety video is proving to be a global hit, especially in China where rap music is surging in popularity," he said.

Air New Zealand global brand and content marketing manager, Jodi Williams, said the airline has received "terrific feedback from people right across the world".

"People are enjoying its New Zealand-ness, the diversity it offers as well as the catchy soundtrack."

In New Zealand, however, the video - which stars Kiwi actor Julian Dennison and local musicians Kings, Theia and trans rapper Randa - has copped criticism that it is not Kiwi enough.

One of the biggest bugbears: The use of American hip hop group Run-DMC's rap track It's Tricky.

"How is this 'authentically New Zealand'? It's got "USA" written all over it or am I deluded?" one commentator wrote on Stuff's Facebook page after the video's launch.

"How can culturally appropriating an African American music genre, hip hop, be kiwi as?" asked 'Skep Tickle'.

'ElJorge' went one step further: "I hope RunDMC sue them for this abomination!"

'Heres2cents' didn't think it was fit for purpose: "Smart, fast paced, snappy, great as a music video but as a safety video? Terrible! Persons with a good grasp of English will be able to follow it, but what about those people who English is their 2nd language? A safety video needs to be clear, concise and to the point, unfortunately this video is not any of those."

The airline has defended the use of the song by saying it "features bespoke New Zealand-themed lyrics" and was produced by Josh Fountain of Auckland's Golden Age Studios.

"The track performed by local musicians Kings and Randa also features In the Neighbourhood by New Zealand duo Sisters Underground, performed by Theia."

Forty per cent of participants in a Stuff poll published on November 6, the date of the video's launch, said they thought the video was "terrible", while 31 per cent thought it "OK". Twenty-nine per cent agreed that it was "great. One of the best."

Air New Zealand's safety videos - Its Kiwi Safety is number 18 - often prove divisive.

Of its controversial last video, in which American actor Adrien Grenier went to Antarctica to learn about global warming, which some considered insensitive in light of the Erebus tragedy, Williams said that great care was take to ensure it didn't upset any of the families of the victims.

"Yes, there were some challenges when we first started talking about it but we went through a very long consultation process and were very respectful as to how it was pulled together. It was driven by raising awareness on the science and research and, when it came out, people were pleasantly surprised."

Others have been controversial or polarising for different reasons (the 2014 video featuring Sports Illustrated models was criticised for being "highly sexualised", while some found the Alice in Wonderland-inspired 2017 video starring Katie Holmes, Cuba Gooding JR and a giant kea a little bizarre).

Williams isn't fazed, however, saying that reactions are "generally positive" and that any creative offering is bound to be divisive.

"When you put yourself out there and you're bold, it will evoke different opinions because we're all individuals with different likes and dislikes."

Not every video, she says, is "going to be everyone's cup of tea… but we're confident [the latest video] has something for everyone."

What do you think of the safety video? Is it your cup of tea? Let us know in the comments.

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