Okay, this is pretty cute. Air New Zealand is known for their hilarious safety videos, and just in time for Christmas they’ve released a humorous video, except it’s not going to be played onboard, for once. Instead I guess it’s just an attempt at viral marketing. The video is called “A Very Merry Mistake,” and pokes fun at the Kiwi accent.
Specifically, it shows Santa taking gift requests from kids around the world. He has no problem understanding what “Ling Ling from Shanghai” wants, but then it comes time to take requests from kids in New Zealand, which is where a lot gets lost in translation. He understands them as requesting things like biscuitballs, puggy banks, bug screen TVs, a book of magic trucks, etc.
And of course since this is an Air New Zealand ad, the helpful Air New Zealand flight attendants make an appearance to translate for Santa. Here’s what an Air New Zealand executive and a professor of linguistics had to say about the video:
Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod says the airline wanted to celebrate the festive season in a uniquely New Zealand way.
“While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service. In fact, for many Kiwis, being welcomed onboard an Air New Zealand flight by crew after being offshore for some time makes them feel instantly back at home.
“We wanted to celebrate the festive season and the Kiwi accent in a humorous and uniquely Air New Zealand way.”
Miriam Meyerhoff, Professor of Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington says: “New Zealand English has had 150 years to go native. In that time, the short vowels have wandered and that’s what makes it sound so distinctive – as the flight attendant in the video explains. It’s great to see Kiwis owning this distinctiveness and embracing it for comic effect.”
It’s a cute video, no doubt, and well worth a watch if you have a couple of minutes: