Snoop Raps with Puppet for Airline

I’ve never been to New Zealand, but from those I know who have visited its two main islands in the south-west Pacific Ocean, it sounds like nothing short of paradise. With so much topographical beauty, history and a fair climate, you’d think it’d be difficult to turn one off on the idea of traveling there, at least on the country’s primary airline.

Enter the ad released today by Air New Zealand, featuring its controversially misogynistic icon, Rico, a puppet developed with help from The Jim Henson Company. Rico is no Kermit the Frog, mind you. In fact, he looks more like a strung out Fozzie the Bear with big tired eyes, creepy canines and a knack for double entendres. Nonetheless, Air New Zealand has embraced the potty-mouthed puppet with a bad French accent as its official ambassador to represent the airline.

Topping it off, the ads begin with a viewer warning about content.

In a clip that aired last year, a woman seated next to Rico on a plane asks for assistance in operating the touchscreen movie menu. Rico coos and ogles the woman before explaining, “Now, this screen is like a woman.”

Stroking the screen, Rico continues, “And you must be gentle with her.”

I’m not sure how this campaign is going to win over women fliers, but that’s for Air New Zealand to figure out.

More than anything I’m puzzled by the latest Rico ad, out today, featuring American rapper Snoop Dogg, who invites Rico over to throw a rhyme down while surrounded by honey-colored honies. Is the best Air New Zealand could do is hire a Long Beach school boy masquerading as a middle-aged pimp? Though it’s right in step with the previous ads, Snoop’s appearance makes about as much sense as the airline depicting women getting sexually harassed on their carriers.

You have to wonder, WTF?

The airline is no stranger to head-scratching promotions, like when it hired D-lister Kathy Griffin to give a bawdy performance during its fourteen-hour Pink Flight from San Francisco to Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras in 2008.

As ridiculous the idea of pandering to a plane full of drag queens is, at least it had a context. The Snoop ad is plain fucking weird. Considering Rico has survived his first year as spokespuppet, he may be generating some desired results. Maybe Snoop, too, will have that magic touch. Bow wow wow.

Let’s just hope the airline’s pilots and mechanics aren’t as obtuse than those in its marketing department.

Check out the ad here:

A look back at Snoop in his breakout feature on Dr. Dre’s 1992 single Deep Cover.

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