It’s only January 25th but Air New Zealand has already launched and crashed a major marketing campaign.
The campaign was based around the “mating habits” of Kiwi cougars (older women seeking younger men, for those of you lucky enough not to know).
I really, really can’t top the News of Australia’s description:
In the Discovery Channel-style documentary clip complete with David Attenborough-esque voiceover, a so-called cougar is shown "starving itself on sparse vegetation during the day then hunting large slabs of meat at night" by stalking a young man at a bar. Despite the man’s attempts to ward off the woman’s advances, the cougar has "not tasted fresh meat for days" and drags her prey to an inner-city apartment. In the ad, the women, aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s, routinely prey on men in their 20s, many who "pretend to be gay" to avoid them, says the voiceover. The promotion encourages women 35-plus to send in photographs of themselves out on the town with their "cougar mates" to go in the draw for a deal including a flight and ticket to a sporting event.
The campaign was pulled last week after taking heavy fire from rape prevention groups who said it belittled the experience of male rape survivors while at the same time managing to be offensive to women. Now that’s the kind of twofer you don’t see every day!
While these are very good and valid criticisms, there is one question no one is asking: What the BLEEP does this have to do with getting people to buy tickets on your airline?
Air New Zealand claimed it ended the campaign because it had been “overwhelmed” by the number of entries. Right. You’re stopping it because it’s successful. Right. I hope they fly better than they lie.