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NZ Herald | March 22, 2011

Air NZ’s Rico teams up with Snoop Dogg

By Paul Harper

Air New Zealand has teamed up controversial puppet Rico with superstar rapper Snoop Dogg in its latest video – although it is hard to tell how the clip promotes the national carrier. In the music video, entitled Hello Sunshine, Rico is “down in New Zealand – lost in a bush” when rapper Snoop Dogg – real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr – calls him from California and asks him to join him in his studio.”I’ll be there in a hearts beats,” Rico says, before flying Air New Zealand to the United States. To a rap backing track, Rico, a small, fanged animal with a faux South American accent, joins Snoop Dogg in the studio.”Ladies, Rico’s here just off the plane, ready to take away all your pain,” Rico sings. “We’re gonna cook a dish, made to savour. Come add your spice, don’t matter the flavour.” Snoop Dogg, sporting an All Blacks jersey, chimes in with lines such as “from Cali to Kiwi – we do it big in the new zee” and “Air New Zealand, yeah – got the feeling, yeah”.

Previous Rico ads have attracted criticism from both the public and staff – with some labelling the puppet as sexist and staff complaining in-flight videos starring Rico were trivialising safety messages.In one ad, Rico talks about his time in New Zealand, saying: “I love her bush – it’s amazing” and “I spent my time beating off the track in many place”. The Snoop Dogg video is of a similar vein; when being escorted through Snoop Dogg’s home by an attractive woman, Rico exclaims the home has a “nice backyard”. Then, looking at the backside of one of the many beautiful women, he adds: “really nice backyard”. In a statement, Air New Zealand general manager marketing Mike Tod said Snoop Dogg and Rico combined have millions of followers in social media and performing a song together came naturally.”Both have courted controversy in their careers and both love to sing – arguably one better than the other, but still, it makes for some light entertainment,” he said. The statement also said: “Rico has also ruffled some fur amongst mainstream media, who have had fun talking up the controversial aspects of his personality”.

When the Herald requested an interview with Mr Tod, a spokeswoman instead offered an interview with Rico and said a request would be put in with Mr Tod. In the statement, Snoop Dogg also said: “Meet this guy and you’ll understand why I wanted to work with him. He’s funny. He’s a little bit edgy and a little bit naughty, which is a nice change for an industry that is known for having some of the dullest marketing known to mankind.” Snoop Dogg’s latest album, Doggumentary, is due to be released on March 28 – although does not include Hello Sunshine, according to the track listing.

Originally posted on the New Zealand Herald