Air New Zealand - Official airline to Middle-earth
- Giant Frodo image takes flight
The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy star Elijah Wood - Frodo Baggins - can be seen 35,000 feet in the air thanks to one of the biggest ever flying billboards - an Air New Zealand Boeing747-400 emblazoned with imagery from the blockbuster film trilogy.
Also featuring Sean Astin as Hobbit Samwise Gamgee, the 36-metre long, 300-piece aircraft mural is designed to take the Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth film message to the world.
The aircraft arrived at London's Heathrow this morning (Saturday) on its inaugural flight from New Zealand. During the 12 months that this imagery is on the aircraft, the massive Boeing 747 flying billboard will undertake its own epic journey covering almost four million kilometres - the equivalent of 96 times around the globe. It will visit London approximately 45 times during the year, Los Angeles 165 times, Sydney 50 times and Japan 56 times.
With more than 150 locations across New Zealand featured in the epic films Air New Zealand and The Lord of the Rings filmmakers New Line Cinema have formed a partnership that will see global promotion of New Zealand as a tourist destination through the carrier's status as airline to Middle-earth.
The two-year agreement will be the springboard for Air New Zealand's highest profile global partnership to position the airline and New Zealand as top holiday choices for travellers from around the world. The deal allows international marketing of Air New Zealand in association with the Two Towers and the third movie in The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy, The Return of the King.
The central movie, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, is released nationwide in the UK next week.
Air New Zealand's European regional general manager Gerald Gilmore said the New Line agreement signalled the strength of the airline's commitment to promoting New Zealand on the world stage.
"This is a smart strategic move to link the massive global appeal of The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy with Air New Zealand. It is also a celebration of a New Zealand success story - of creativity, ingenuity and spirit, " he said.
"Our clear commitment is to showcase the very best of New Zealand. The Lord of the Rings project is one of the most ambitious platforms yet to take the New Zealand message to the world."
New Line Cinema's President of Worldwide Distribution and Marketing, Rolf Mittweg, described the partnership as "an innovative collaboration".
Mittweg added: "As the producer of the trilogy we symbolically carry the flag for The Lord of the Rings. Air New Zealand too is a flag carrier, for New Zealand - which has become identified so strongly as Middle-earth. With so much in common, and the huge interest in New Zealand as the location and source of so much of the creative energy behind the movies, our partnership was a natural alliance."
A second aircraft, a Boeing B767 will be launched with different Lord of the Rings imagery in January. This will fly mainly from New Zealand to Australia and the South Pacific.
Further media information
Airline to Middle-earth unveils tourism's biggest flying billboard
Air New Zealand today rolled out its biggest tourism promotion yet - a Boeing 747-400 emblazoned with "The Lord of the Rings" motion picture trilogy imagery that will take the Middle-earth message to the world.
Spearheading the airline's new promotional identity as "Airline to Middle-earth", Air New Zealand Regional General Manager for Europe, Gerard Gilmore described the promotion as "a visionary demonstration of Air New Zealand's commitment to drive the New Zealand tourism message around the world"
As the largest private sector promoter of tourism in the international arena, Air New Zealand developed a two year joint venture with movie makers New Line Cinema to link movie publicity to New Zealand tourism.
The aircraft image is the most visible expression of that partnership, but is underpinned by extensive marketing work in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and Singapore - prime sources of tourists to New Zealand.
A second aircraft, a Boeing 767, will be launched with different Lord of the Rings imagery in January and fly predominantly on trans-Tasman and Pacific routes.
The massive Boeing 747 flying billboard, unveiled today, will undertake its own epic journey of almost four million kilometres during the 12 months it remains on the aircraft - that's the equivalent of 96 times around the globe.
It will visit London approximately 45 times during the year, Los Angeles 165 times, Sydney 50 times and Japan 56 times.
Weighing 60 kilograms, the giant decal will be subjected to temperatures ranging from - 60C through to 60C between high-altitude cruising and sitting on hot airport tarmacs in mid-summer sun.
Passengers onboard tonight's flight to Los Angeles will each be presented with a personally autographed Lord of the Rings Locations Guidebook by Ian Brodie, Air New Zealand's Lord of the Rings Ambassador. This book, already in its third reprint since last month's launch, is currently New Zealand's number one best seller.
Over the next year, passengers flying onboard the Frodo plane will see a thirteen minute video highlighting locations used in the movie followed by a trailer for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and also receive a special souvenir postcard.
In a year's time the giant decal will be replaced by other The Lord of the Rings imagery - this time from the final movie in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Giant Frodo image takes flight...
Air New Zealand's Lord of the Rings aircraft mural is one of the biggest ever promotional billboards for New Zealand on the global stage.
Stretching 36 metres along the fuselage from the rear door to over the wing, it reaches almost 8 metres in height and runs down both sides of the aircraft.
The image of Elijah Wood as Hobbit Frodo Baggins and Sean Astin as the Hobbit Samwise Gamgee, is made up of more than 300 separate pieces, forming one giant jigsaw stuck to the curved canvas of the Boeing 747 fuselage.
Although the aircraft marking film used is barely thicker than cling film, the sheer size of the image means the decal actually weighs more than 60 kilograms.
The specialist film is perforated to allow for pressurisation changes in the aircraft and designed to withstand speeds of up to 1,000 kilometres an hour.
Tested by the US Airforce, the film is manufactured to cope with the enormous temperature fluctuation experienced by an aircraft fuselage surface, from -60 C while cruising at 35,000 feet to 60 C during prolonged spells on the tarmac mid-summer in destinations such as Los Angeles.
The Lord of the Rings image is 20% larger than the All Black front row mural used by the airline to mark the national team's campaign for the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
More than 450 man hours were involved in fixing the vast mural to the aircraft, which had to be painstakingly cleaned with alcohol first to ensure the self-adhesive film would attach firmly.
A team of 12 from outdoor graphic manufacturing and installation specialist AdMark Visual Imaging were joined by Air New Zealand engineers in a hangar at the airline's Auckland engineering base to apply the mural during a routine three-day maintenance check on the Boeing 747-400.
While the aircraft marking film itself has a three-year lifespan, Air New Zealand plans to replace it late next year with images from the final part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King.
Notes to news/picture desks
Images taken of the aircraft at London Heathrow are being distributed today (14.12.02). If you do not receive an image, pictures will also be available from Press Association.
SOURCE Air New Zealand
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