Santa Struggles to Understand Kiwi Accent in ‘Very Merry Mistake’

Air New Zealand has released a Christmas campaign spot that pokes fun at the Kiwi accent with Santa doing his best to understand what the kids want for Christmas.

The 3-minute film, called ‘A Very Merry Mistake’, was directed by Alex Roberts through Finch Sydney.

In the ad we see Santa trying to decipher requests for items such as biscuitballs (basketballs) and puggy banks (piggy banks) to bug screen TVs (big screen TVs).


In the clip, Santa’s helpers -played by Air New Zealand’s Cabin Crew – provide translation for what the kids want to find under the tree this Christmas.

“While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service,” said chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod. “In fact, for many Kiwis, being welcomed onboard an Air New Zealand flight by the 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.”

“New Zealand English has had 150 years to go native,” said Miriam Meyerhoff, professor of linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington. “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.”


As part of the campaign, Air New Zealand will be giving away some of Santa’s mis-made toys shown in the video via its social media channels this month.


Client: Air New Zealand

Creative Agency: Host/Havas
CCO: Darren Spiller
ECD: Jon Austin
Senior Copywriter: Hadleigh Sinclair
Senior Art Director: Jack Delmonte
Group Account Director: Oli Cassidy
Senior Account Director: Jo Thomasson
Senior Broadcast Producer: Karen Muxworthy

Production Company: FINCH Sydney
Director: Alex Roberts
Executive Producer: Corey Esse
Producer: Amy Dymond
Director of Photography: Tim Tregoning
Production Designer: Bruce Everard
Editor: James Ashbolt
Edit House: ARC Edit
Post-Production: FINCH VFX
Music and Sound Design: Song Zu

Photography by Matt Baker
Photography Production: Louis & Co

Media agency: Dentsu Aegis Network


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