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Kiwis Queue Up To Become 'Cranial Billboards'

Media Release 16 September 2008

Kiwis Queue Up To Become 'Cranial Billboards' In Air New Zealand Campaign

Two of the Christchurch Cranial Billboards display their new henna tattoos

*****


Hundreds of people flocked to Victoria Square in Christchurch today to watch daring Kiwis get their heads shaved and 'tattooed' for Air New Zealand's Cranial Billboards campaign.

The unique campaign, announced last week, has sparked headlines around the world including on CNN, BBC, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, media outlets across Australia and the Pacific Islands, and has even been discussed by Jay Leno on his hit US TV talk show, The Tonight Show.

The airline has been inundated with emails and phone calls around the world from people wanting to be involved, including several offers from keen travellers volunteering to fly to New Zealand to participate.

The first 'casting call' was today in Christchurch and will be followed by events later in the week in Wellington and Auckland to find up to 75 'cranial billboards' - men and women prepared to shave their heads and carry an advertising message on the back of their head for two weeks, and receive $1,000 for their efforts.

The message - "The End of the Domestic Check-in Queue Is Coming" - refers to the new simplified check-in experience that will be introduced at Auckland domestic airport in late October, followed by Christchurch and Wellington domestic airports.

The changes, which include replacing existing check-in desks with new kiosks and introducing a speedier process for checking in luggage, will see travellers get through the airport faster.

190 men and women registered to participate in Christchurch, with 25 people winning the opportunity to be an Air New Zealand Cranial Billboard. One of the winners had travelled up from Invercargill in the early morning in order to volunteer for selection.

The remaining 50 Cranial Billboards will be drawn from the Wellington and Auckland casting calls, taking place on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The 25 Christchurch winners, along with four Air New Zealand staff, were shaved on stage in front of a 450-strong crowd, and the back of their heads branded with the temporary henna message that will be visible for approximately two weeks.

Air New Zealand's General Manager Marketing Steve Bayliss says, "To be honest we've been amazed by the global interest in this activity - we've even had people walking into our offices overseas wanting to be involved."

He adds, "Closer to home, the interest from Kiwis to be involved in such a quirky campaign has been great. It's important that we communicate our great new airport changes to as many customers as possible - and we know our Cranial Billboards will help spread the word far and wide.

"Our Air New Zealand Cranial Billboards are the ultimate in ambient advertising. We're not asking them to undertake any specific activity apart from going about their everyday lives - being out and about and getting amongst it."

Further casting calls will be held at:

* Frank Kitts Park. Wellington, Wednesday 17 September, 12-2pm

* Aotea Square, Auckland, Thursday 18 September, 12-2pm

All casting calls are open to the public, as well as those registering for selection as a Cranial Billboard. In addition to a free BBQ and refreshments, top Kiwi band Elemeno P will entertain the crowd, with TV3's Brooke Howard Smith as MC at the Wellington and Auckland events.

For more information about the new domestic check-in experience, please see www.changingthewayyoufly.co.nz .


ENDS

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