Air New Zealand today unveiled the second of its The Lord of the Rings themed flying billboards - a Boeing 767-300 depicting the epic love story of key characters Aragorn and Arwen.
The aircraft shows the lovers, played by Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler, set against the stunning backdrop of the Remarkables near Queenstown.
The imagery powerfully evokes not just the love story between the brave warrior Aragorn and the Elven princess but also the dramatic Middle-earth landscapes which are at the core of the motion picture trilogy.
Spearheading an ambitious two-year campaign to promote Air New Zealand as the “Airline to Middle-earth”, the aircraft pairing will carry their tourism message to almost every corner of the airline`s international network.
Since the “Frodo” themed aircraft was unveiled on December 13 last year, it has already flown more than 300,000 kilometres and visited the world`s movie capital Los Angeles about 20 times. The plane has also been seen several times at Heathrow as well as in Sydney and Japan. And all of this at a time when The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers has been the hottest box office act in the industry.
The “Aragorn” themed aircraft will fly primarily Pacific Rim routes - Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands - dovetailing with the London and Los Angeles routes that the first “Frodo” themed plane (a Boeing 747-400 unveiled last month) will fly.
Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller commented: “As a flying billboard to promote New Zealand tourism, this is as powerful as it gets.
“This pair of aircraft represent a significant investment by Air New Zealand - not only in the cost of creating and applying these images - but also in wide-ranging marketing deal with New Line Cinema which is the bedrock of all our Middle-earth promotional work in markets around the world.
“We see the harnessing of the motion picture trilogy`s appeal as a strategically smart move - one which we believe is already driving strong forward bookings from the US and European markets as the appeal of Middle-earth takes hold.”
While Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler have yet to see the “Aragorn” aircraft, Elijah Wood actually flew into New Zealand for the Wellington premiere of the motion picture on the “Frodo: themed aircraft. He was reported as saying: “It`s been one of the best days of my life - starting with arriving in New Zealand this morning onboard a plane with my face on the side of it!”
In its first month, the “Aragorn” themed aircraft will fly to Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Los Angeles, Tahiti, Fiji, Perth and Rarotonga—spreading the Middle-earth tourism message around the Pacific Rim.
Its arrival into airports around Asia will be leveraged by Air New Zealand, especially in Japan where the aircraft will be a media focal point when The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opens there in March.