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No wait – hang on, I see it… just squint a little…

Kiwis have always prided themselves on being down to earth but every now and again our prudish minority get their waist-high Granny panties in a twist about something – and the latest is our national carrier, Air New Zealand.

In response to competition from other airlines who charge for extra such as checked baggage Air New Zealand has launched a marketing campaign targeted at domestic customers with the tagline “We’ve got nothing to hide”. In keeping with that ‘theme’ recent advertising for Air NZ, including their in-flight safety video, features staffers wearing nothing but body paint and a smile (you can see the video here, and this is the TV ad which also features body paint and has a little more innuendo – but no smut). As you can see, the only ‘nudity’ to be seen is the occasional painted male nipple or quick shot of a bum . The first time I saw it (the TV ad) it took a few seconds before I even clicked that the people in the video were naked – and my children (I showed it to them) had no idea the staff weren’t wearing any clothes.

Despite this, there’s been protest over the videos, which saddens me; I always thought we Kiwis were up for a laugh (especially at ourselves) and not concerned about the pettiness of life. I mean, as a nation we rolled our eyes at the Janet Jackson ‘Nipplegate’ scandal (and wondered why she got the blame and not Justin Timberlake – was it because of her race or her sex?) and I would have thought we could deal with naked people who don’t look naked and aren’t showing any genitals.

I was wrong.

According to news website Stuff several complaints have been made against the ads, comparing Air NZ to a ‘strip joint’ and, my personal favourite, moaning about having to see the flight attendant’s “fat … rear end” on future flights (I’d just like to point out here that while the actors are airline employees I have flown with Air NZ since this campaign began and I haven’t yet come across a staffer in body paint in real life.) Actually the last comment made me want to ask – you’d be happy, then, if they were naked but thinner? Luckily the country’s advertising watchdog – the Advertising Standards Authority – agrees with me, saying that considering current community values the ads were unlikely to cause widespread offence.

But still I can’t really believe people got so riled up about this as to complain. Why can’t fun be a little… cheeky?  😉


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