Air New Zealand is shining a global spotlight on Antarctica, today launching its latest safety video, which showcases the frozen continent and the important climate and environmental science underway there.
Featuring Hollywood actor, filmmaker and environmentalist Adrian Grenier, the World’s Coolest Safety Video takes viewers on a breath-taking journey to Antarctica, where Kiwi scientists are tackling the most pressing questions on global climate change.
Building on Air New Zealand’s long-standing partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, the video sees Grenier team up with Scott Base scientists to track penguin populations, study ice core samples and visit early explorer Ernest Shackleton’s hut and the vast Dry Valleys.
One of Antarctica New Zealand’s key mandates is to raise awareness of Antarctica and the research taking place there. Chief Executive Officer Peter Beggs says the safety video project is an incredible opportunity to profile Kiwi Antarctic science around the world.
“Air New Zealand’s safety videos have collectively attracted more than 130 million online views. Our teams are thrilled to have such a significant global platform to amplify their work and we’re confident it will take our outreach efforts to the next level.”
22 students aged eight to eleven years old from Christchurch’s Hornby Primary School also play a starring role, appearing in footage shot in Canterbury Museum’s Antarctic Gallery. Christchurch has been a gateway to Antarctica for more than 100 years and the museum holds an internationally significant collection of artefacts from early expeditions.
Air New Zealand Global Head of Brand and Content Marketing Jodi Williams says the airline has supported Antarctic science for close to a decade, and an important focus for its partnership is the three-year Biological Resilience Project.
“Multiple teams of researchers are investigating ecosystems on land and water in the Ross Sea area. The goal is to build a monitoring network to understand how rapidly the impacts of environmental change expected in a warming world may play out.
“We are incredibly proud to contribute to this world-class research and are confident the safety video project will encourage millions of people to reflect on the role they can play to minimise their own impact on our environment.”
The safety video is available to view online here and will be rolled out across Air New Zealand’s international and domestic fleet from today.
Behind the scenes: Minimising the environmental impact of filming
To minimise the environmental impact of filming, a total crew of just six travelled to Antarctica, with Scott Base scientists and staff doubling as supporting talent in the safety video. The airline has also released television and online content, providing a more in-depth look at Antarctica and the work being done there.
Director Kevin Denholm, who helmed Air New Zealand’s first feature safety video, the Bare Essentials of Safety in 2009, featuring body-painted Air New Zealand staff, and The Bear Essentials of Safety starring British adventurer Bear Grylls in 2013, says filming on the ice had its challenges.
“One of our non-negotiables was to take all possible steps to minimise the environmental impact of filming on our stunning location, and we were careful to only take the minimum of equipment with us.”
“Where usually a crew of around 40 would be involved, we restricted our team to just six people, including celebrity talent. The amazing staff from Scott Base provided the logistical support we needed to pull this off, and many of them stepped outside their comfort zone into roles as supporting talent.”
Click here to view a behind the scenes video with Kevin Denholm, Peter Beggs and Air New Zealand Head of Sustainability Lisa Daniell.
Beyond the big screen: Adrian Grenier’s environmental work
Aside from being a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, Adrian is the co-founder of the Lonely Whale clean ocean advocacy non-profit, and producer and director of documentaries and films highlighting important social and environmental issues.
He says it was a privilege to partner with Air New Zealand and Antarctica New Zealand on the video project.
“This safety video highlights Air New Zealand’s support of the scientists striving to make discoveries that are going to help humanity – a cause which aligns with my own commitment to the environment. To know the airline is doing its job to help us understand how climate change is going to affect us is something that is very important to me.”
Adrian adds that visiting Antarctica has been a “life-long dream” and is privileged to be part of one of Air New Zealand’s world-renowned safety videos.
“Filming in sub-zero conditions was intense, but it was an adventure I will carry with me forever. One unforgettable moment was stepping below the ice shelf to see the underwater life beneath in a scientific observation cylinder drilled through the ice,” he says.
Click here to view a behind the scenes video with Adrian Grenier.
Previous safety videos
This Antarctica themed video is the latest addition to Air New Zealand’s arsenal of safety videos, Since the first safety video launched in 2009, the airline has built a reputation of creating immensely entertaining safety videos that cover several popular themes such as The Hobbit and Men in Black – a mix of celebrity with cultural events and humour.
These safety videos have a phenomenal worldwide following and have collectively attracted more than 130 million views online.
Air New Zealand Global Head of Brand and Content Marketing Jodi Williams says, “Being a Kiwi, we are very proud of our creativity, something embedded in our DNA as a company to embrace innovation. It’s also the philosophy behind Air New Zealand’s safety videos. The safety videos reflect the country’s personality and destinations.”
Some examples of the airline’s most iconic videos include:
The Bare Essentials of Safety
In 2009, Air New Zealand embarked the airline on a risqué marketing campaign called “Nothing to Hide,” which featured Air New Zealand passengers and crew wearing only body paint.
This led to the production of the airline’s first feature pre-flight safety video The Bare Essentials of Safety, which showcased naked cabin crew covered in body paint, dispensing advice on seatbelts, oxygen masks and emergency exits.
The Bear Essentials of Safety
The first in-flight safety film to be shot fully outdoors was featuring adventurer Bear Grylls which was rolled out in 2013. Bear helps Air New Zealand bring to life important on-board safety messages in a unique and compelling way while at the same time demonstrating the best of what New Zealand has to offer.
Air New Zealand and DOC (New Zealand Department of Conservation) have developed a deep partnership and this safety video is particularly promoting the nine Great Walks.
The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made
As the official airline of Middle Earth, Air New Zealand released a Hobbit-themed safety video in 2014, featuring cast members from all three films in the trilogy – Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O'Gorman (Fili the Dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast).
The video was shot over six days at New Zealand Middle-earth locations, including Hobbiton and Central Otago. Weta Workshop and Weta Digital – the Miramar teams behind the actual movies – were also involved with providing costumes, prosthetics and make-up, as well as visual effects.
View all of Air New Zealand’s safety videos here.