There was probably a time, circa Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when New Zealand wanted to be known for something other than hobbits and wizards and preeeccciiiiooous rings. It is a beautiful, beautiful country after all.
Now it seems they're like, "Screw it. Whatever gets people to visit here and not Australia." So in anticipation of The Hobbit sequel, Desolation of Smaug, Air New Zealand kicked off their new ad campaign, "Just Another Day in Middle-Earth," with this epic video:
Eagle-eyed Ringies (Ringers? Lord of the Ringheads? What are LotR fans called?) may pick out Hobbit actors Dean O'Gorman (who plays Fili the dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (who plays Radagast).
The ad promotes a new contest Air New Zealand is holding, the grand prize of which is:
5 night trip for two to Los Angeles including airfares (Premium Economy), 4 star hotel accommodations, rental car, NZ$500 spending money and 2 tickets to the World-wide Premiere screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug film.
5 night trip for two to Middle-earth (New Zealand) including airfares (Premium Economy), 4 star hotel accommodations, rental car, NZ$500 spending money, and a visit to Hobbiton in Matamata and to the Weta Cave in Wellington (Destinations within New Zealand to visit will include Auckland, Matamata and Wellington).
It's also the latest in a series of big budget airline videos, following Virgin America's song and dance safety video, which features a rapping robot and texting nun and went viral last month. So fun! Unless you're a frequent flyer, in which case it might be even more annoying than the regular safety video by the fifth viewing.