Air New Zealand
As Air New Zealand’s public relations agency of record for North America, CRT/tanaka provides strategic public relations counsel and creative ideation, delivering media relations, experiential marketing, event sponsorship and media outreach services to support the airline’s public relations efforts in the continental United States and Canada. The agency has helped Air New Zealand build brand awareness, enhance customer experience, introduce new products and services and drive U.S. ticket sales through a variety of novel and engaging campaigns. In 2008, CRT/tanaka worked with the airline to promote the first gay-themed “Pink Flight” in North America. This campaign contributed to a 24 percent increase in Air New Zealand’s North American sales and won a prestigious Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America, the highest honor given within the PR industry.
As the national airline for New Zealand, Air New Zealand reflects the country’s diversity-embracing nature, liberal approach and long history of social reform. Air New Zealand leveraged its Pink Flight – the first North American gay-themed flight – to build brand awareness, enhance customer experience, and introduce new products and services, such as food, wine and in-flight entertainment, to ultimately drive U.S. ticket sales for
Air New Zealand’s Business Premier class among one of the airline’s top targeted audiences: the LGBT market. CRT/tanaka was charged with positioning the company as a leader in international travel by coordinating all public relations activities related to the Pink Flight, including media relations, leveraging international partnerships, internal communications and event management. CRT/tanaka continues to help Air New Zealand build brand awareness in the United States by introducing new concepts that drive ticket sales for the premium cabins.
New Zealand’s media outreach. Responsibilities included pitching media, coordinating media assignments from key journalists in the LGBT market, arranging international in-air filming rights for news organizations and BRAVO’s “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” developing unique press materials, providing consistent message points, scheduling executive interviews and conducting media training for key spokespeople. In addition to coordinating and pitching the local markets, CRT/tanaka reached out to bloggers and podcasters, as well as national travel, business, consumer and mainstream print, radio and television outlets.
- Media coverage in print/online outlets included Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, Advocate, Star Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, Houston Chronicle, San Jose Chronicle, Bay Area Reporter, Out Traveler, MetroSource, DNA Magazine, Marketwatch and hits on hundreds of Web sites.
- Media coverage in broadcast outlets included “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” MSNBC’s “News Live,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” CBS’ “Early Today,” CBS’ “News on Logo,” Current TV, KPIX-TV CBS, KNTV NBC and more than 20 affiliate news stations throughout the country.
- Air New Zealand’s Pink Flight generated more than 285 million impressions and had a publicity value of more than $8 million.
- The campaign won a prestigious Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America, the highest honor given in the PR industry, in the events and observances: seven or fewer days category.
Additional Air New Zealand Work
In 2008, CRT/tanaka’s relationship with Air New Zealand grew, as the company selected the agency to lead its Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) campaign. CRT/tanaka was charged with creating an imaginative campaign focused on the LAX to LHR route, in a highly competitive industry. Air New Zealand has been flying from Los Angeles to London for more than 25 years. Even so, awareness of the route in the Los Angeles market is low. Other domestic and international airlines – such as United, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic – also fly this route and enjoy much higher awareness levels because their connection between these two markets is more intuitive.
CRT/tanaka recommended the “Flip My Flop” campaign promoting the LAX to LHR non-stop route. CRT/tanaka represented the airline’s casual elegance by using a flip-flop icon as a symbol of Kiwi style in order to connect with Los Angeles residents.
Components of the campaign included an interactive Web site, public relations, guerilla marketing and advertising.
In 2008, Air New Zealand also turned to CRT/tanaka for strategic counsel and support surrounding its plans to incorporate environmentally sustainable fuel sources into its flights. CRT/tanaka led a media relations campaign for the airline surrounding the world’s first flight test on a large passenger aircraft using fuel sourced from the plant jatropha. The Boeing 747-400 Rolls Royce powered test flight took place in Auckland, NZ, in December 2008. The campaign garnered several media placements, including Associated Press and Los Angeles Times articles that were picked up nationwide; and stories on CNN, CNBC and KNBC.
In late 2009/early 2010, CRT/tanaka helped Air New Zealand transform international air travel by unveiling the Future Taking Flight — a new passenger-centered experience in all cabins designed based on behavioral studies and including: the first-ever sleep option in coach class called the “SkyCouch;” a more spacious premium seating option that allows passengers to choose social seating or a more private seating arrangement; and personalized, on-demand entertainment, food and beverage features. Announcement of the new product garnered more than 448 million media impressions in the first month alone, including CNN, USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, numerous travel publications and influential blogs, including Gadling and Crankyflier.