Rico, Air New Zealand's furry mascot, has passed away while hosting a celeb-packed house-warming party in his Los Angeles mansion.
Details of Rico's demise have not yet been released, but the following suspects are under suspicion of having a hand in the end of his journey:
- Rapper Snoop Dogg
- Hugh Hefner's ex, Holly Madison
- All Black New Zealand rugby player Ma'a Nonu
- E! News presenter Guliana Rancic
- 80's fitness icon Richard Simmons
- New Zealand TV and radio presenter Paul Henry
In a world first Air New Zealand has teamed up with Hasbro, the makers of one of the world's most popular board games CLUEDOTM, to give Rico's fans the chance to figure out which of the famous suspects fell out with Rico and brought about his demise.
The game can be played at www.byebyerico.com.
Air New Zealand is offering a generous reward for the person who helps them correctly identify who had a hand in Rico's demise, with return airfares for two to Los Angeles, five nights accommodation at a four star hotel and passes to Universal Studios and Disneyland. If the winner comes from Los Angeles, they'll win a similar trip but to New Zealand including accommodation and tours.
Air New Zealand's Head of International Marketing, Jodi Williams, paid tribute to Rico.
"Rico's core purpose over the past year has been to draw global attention to our revolutionary new economy Skycouch and premium economy Spaceseat. As a small airline at the bottom of the world we haven't had the budgets to take a traditional marketing approach to gain awareness of these award-winning product innovations. Thanks to Rico they have had fantastic exposure in our core international markets and beyond," says Ms Williams.
"Rico's risqué approach and online videos resulted in his quick rise to fame over the past year, with more than 4.5 million people watching his videos on YouTube and the Chinese equivalent Yoku, plus hundreds of millions more learning about him through the global media coverage he's garnered in the likes of the New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Huffington Post, the Examiner, Forbes.com, E! News, OK!, Life and Style, Star, Perez Hilton, and US celebrity news website TMZ," says Ms Williams.
Rico's success was cited by judges as one of the reasons Air New Zealand won the 2011 Airline Business marketing strategy award, saying "Air New Zealand is game changing" and that the airline was in an "industry leading position – pushing the outer edge".
"Rico's led a busy life, from collaborating with rapper Snoop Dogg to produce the song Hello Sunshine to creating his own online chat show interviewing David Hasselhoff, Lindsay Lohan and Guliana Rancic," says Ms Williams.
Rico leaves behind a Facebook fan base of more than 47,000 followers.
Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320
HASBRO, CLUEDO and all related characters are trademarks and are used with permission. © 2011 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.
Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is a branded play company providing children and families around the world with a wide-range of immersive entertainment offerings based on the Company’s world class brand portfolio. From toys and games, to television programming, motion pictures, video games and a comprehensive licensing program, Hasbro strives to delight its customers through the strategic leveraging of well-known and beloved brands such as TRANSFORMERS, LITTLEST PET SHOP, NERF, PLAYSKOOL, MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE, MAGIC: THE GATHERING and MONOPOLY. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at www.hasbro.com.au © 2011 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, British Midland International, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Avianca-TACA, Copa Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 21,200 daily flights to 1,185 airports in 185 countries.