In the latest production of its ‘Better Way to Fly’ marketing campaign, Air New Zealand’s Dave the Goose finds himself in Buenos Aires as the airline includes South America in promoting its long-haul network.
A Memorable Ambassador
The one-minute television commercial sees the intrepid goose, a CGI creation voiced by Australia’s Bryan Brown, roaming the streets of Buenos Aires whilst immersing in the culture, cuisine, and wine of the Argentine Capital. He finds romance in a female counterpart when he tries his hand, er, feathers at the dance of love – Tango – as Buenos Aires is painted as a city of love.
Air New Zealand first introduced Dave the Goose in October 2016 in a bid to take a share in the Australian market, dominated by Qantas and Virgin Australia, by flying passengers across the pacific rim via Auckland.
Speaking to NZ Herald last October, Air New Zealand Chief Executive, Christopher Luxon said the marketing strategy was a key opportunity to take a slice of the Australian pie which the Star Alliance member has not had the best track record with in the past. The airline’s unsuccessful Australian ventures most notably include the collapse of Ansett in 2001, and its stake in Virgin Australia which it exited from last year.
A Winning Concept
But the launch of a ‘Better Way to Fly’, originally a 90 second television ad, marked another stab at a market that’s five times larger in population than that of New Zealand. The initial video clip introduces Dave the Goose on his way to Los Angeles travelling on Air New Zealand as a ‘better way to fly’ as opposed to the way birds would usually migrate. The ad features a cameo by Bryan Brown (as a human) referencing his role in the popular 1988 film Cocktail.
And it seems the strategy has paid off, with strong outcomes from both the Houston and Buenos Aires routes in its first year of operation. Australians made up approximately 20 per cent of passengers on the Auckland-Houston route, and around 40 per cent of the Buenos Aires flights last year.
Not only has the campaign improved profits but it has also nabbed marketing awards. At the one-day inaugural Mumbrella Travel Marketing Awards held in April this year at the Four Seasons in Sydney, Air New Zealand’s ‘Better Way to Fly’ idea won the airline ‘Ad Campaign of the Year’ for 2016. In addition, the ‘A word from Dave the Goose’ campaign won the ‘Best Media Strategy’ gong as well as taking home the coveted ‘Travel marketing team of the year’ award.