Lately, Air New Zealand’s ad campaigns have teetered on the borderline of risque and inappropriate. While I thought their their three-part squirrel ad campaign was in poor taste, I at least (embarrassingly) chuckled at the double entendres. NZ’s latest billboard, which appeared in Nelson, New Zealand and advertises "fares lower than grandma’s boobs" is not only vulgar, it is humorless.
I held off on posting about this for a few days in hopes of finding a picture of the ad, but after public outcry erupted in New Zealand, the airline quickly removed the billboard and issued a half-hearted apology (apologizing if anyone "was offended" — which is worse than not apologizing at all!).
I realize that culture is different and more laid back in New Zealand, but when I compare their ads to United’s brilliant advertisements or Lufthansa’s "there’s no better way to fly" campaign or Korean Air’s beautiful ads, I just wonder why NZ has felt the need to sink to the gutter.
My expertise is law and political science, not marketing, but it seems clear to me this was just another ploy by NZ to get people talking about them. And I’m certainly not going to boycott NZ because of their below the belt advertisements. In fact, I intend to go out of my way to fly them between London and Los Angeles next year. But was the ad necessary?
I hope NZ uses this incident to change their ad focus from puerile humor to something more fitting of one of the world’s best airlines.