9 February 2011
Rico puppet causes uproar in the air...
Rico, as you may well remember is an Air New Zealand rodent, who flies in style. He was created by Jim Henson Creature Shop for Air New Zealand's commercials last year. Then a few months ago, while we were working in Asia, it was widely advertised that Rico's manipulator, puppeteer Tyler Bunch was busy filming for the latest Henson epic 'The Muppets', and thus was unable to shoot for the second series. (The first series were featured here and here.)
Although I sent a few puppeteers for the auditions in Sydney, no one ever got back to us about the local casting. So when the new series of ads were featured on a You Tube channel today, it did come as a bit of a surprise. All I can deduce is that they managed to get Tyler back to film the second series.
Air New Zealand Crew are reported to have said Rico's ribald antics were at odds with international research highlighting the value of on-board video briefings, according to the New Zealand Herald. One staff member was angry a pre-flight film on the airline's 777-300s featured the puppet with his oxygen mask over his ears, rather than his nose and mouth. He said research showed that in emergencies passengers relied on their recall of pre-flight demonstrations. But enough said, I think they're great, but don't take my word - check them all out here and judge for yourself.