The recent Airline Safety Video released by Air New Zealand, featuring Pro Surfers has been criticized by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA Expressed concerns about the the approach taken by the airline on the safety video titled Surfing Safari. The video is a five minute instructional reel that features pro surfers Alana Blanchard, Anastasia Ashley, Ricardo Christie, Maz Quinn, Paige Hareb, Masatoshio Ohno, Laird Hamilton, Gabriel Medina and, Mick Fanning. The cast has transformed the production into a video that is worthwhile viewing. But it does not make everyone happy, not the CAA.
A story published by the TVNZ cites the CAA saying “As we have commented previously, the video diverges materially from the ‘safety message’ at times, and whilst I appreciate the need to engage the viewers, the extraneous material detracts from the scope and direction of the safety message.”
The airline prides itself on creating entertaining preflight instructional videos that utilizes film and sports celebrities for the purpose of engaging their passengers and conveying their safety message in an interesting manner, while building a marketing buzz. The airline’s global brand manager, Jodi Williams told TVNZ “We took what was an instructional help video and turned it on its head and created really entertaining content that not only demonstrated the safety messages, and we saw more customers watching them as a result of it, but also a really amazing piece of marketable material.”
This is not the first time that Air New Zealand has undergone PR scrutiny, in the past there were various incidents that have taken the spotlight, such as a drunk, off-duty cabin crew causing commotion during a flight, pilots kissing blowup dolls, a staff member posting a social video spitting water and captioned “wish I could spit on passengers like this.” Even Feminist commentators have called one preflight film which starred Sports Illustrated models on bikinis “highly sexualized”.
Although the CAA has expressed its objection to the content of the safety video, Air New Zealand will still be allowed to use it.