Rico was born on a plane between two countries over the International Date Line on June 6th and June 7th of 1972. His mother and father were hippies and moved off the coast of Equador when Rico was only young and remained there for several years. In his later years, Rico went on to work at a travelling circus giving him the opportunity to see many places he’d never seen before. After tiring of the circus life, he tied himself to a small plane carrying coffee beans and landed in the USA, bright eyed and ready to begin his new life as the face of Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand is at it again, this time with a new advertising campaign looking to be its most controversial yet – although in this instance, I’m not so sure being controversial is a bad thing. Rico made his debut in three commercials released last week to create awareness of the airlines new children’s storytime services and premium economy space seats on their 777-300 aircraft.
In two of the three commercials, Rico makes lewd, suggestive comments to fellow Air New Zealand passengers that strike up conversation with him. His thick Equadorian accent plays a part in the mispronunciation of words, in turn, giving them a double meaning: “All we need now is a nice Kiwi bitch (beach).”
In the second commercial titled “The Intimate Art of Touching”, Rico rips out one liners such as “You can lick the crack…” and “The screen is like a woman, and you must be gentle with her…put your finger here and touch her lightly…”
What’s even more impressive is that Rico has his own Facebook page. His interests are listed as “travelling to everywhere, meating the friend. Relapsing in nice place, writing the book and taking away photo.” Rico interacts with his 4,837 fans by engaging in wall conversations with them in a fun and flirtatious manner. Can we expect Rico to make a Twitter appearance? I definitely hope so.
Personally, I think these advertisements are a genius move by Air New Zealand. Yes, they are controversial, but being controversial isn’t necessarily a bad thing now, is it? Controversy generates interest and talk, whether it be via word of mouth, news or online communication platforms; all of which produce an increase in brand awareness and gain the attention and curiosity of the general public, or perhaps a whole new market that never previously considered Air New Zealand as their airline of choice.
Do you find Air New Zealand’s new advertising campaign offensive or funny? I’d love to hear your thoughts.