Air New Zealand hires CRT

EL SEGUNDO, CA: Air New Zealand has named CRT/tanaka AOR for North America, replacing incumbent Cohn & Wolfe.

EL SEGUNDO, CA: Air New Zealand has named CRT/tanaka AOR for North America, replacing incumbent Cohn & Wolfe.

Work will include strategic and event planning, media relations, sponsorships, and word-of-mouth marketing promoting the airline's North American routes to New Zealand, as well as its Los Angeles-to-London route.

Marcy Walsh, CRT/tanaka VP and LA office GM, noted the airline has operated in the US for 25 years, but isn't as well-known for its LA-to-London route as competitors British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, or United Airlines. For that and other routes, outreach will focus on business travelers.

For its flights to New Zealand, the airline is additionally targeting the "interactive traveler" who, rather than purchasing package tours, takes an active role in planning where to go and what to do.

Such travelers include the gay and lesbian market and affluent baby boomers. For the gay and lesbian audience, CRT is planning a February "Pink Flight" event, tied to the 2008 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

"We'll be doing a lot of fun stuff with the Pink Flight," Walsh said. "[In general,] Air New Zealand is looking to change its approach from a heavy focus on advertising and traditional PR. [It is] looking at the marketing mix."

The value of the year-long contract was undisclosed. C&W, which declined to comment, was reportedly among the finalists.

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