Watch Air New Zealand's Sports Illustrated swimsuit model safety video

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air-new-zealand-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-safety-video-criticism.jpgAir New Zealand is no stranger to stunt casting -- it frequently enlists celebrities to spice up its pre-flight safety videos. But the company is getting mixed feedback regarding its newest video, a tie-in to the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

The new clip, titled "Safety in Paradise," features SI models Ariel Meredith, Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes on a shoot in the Cook Islands as they instruct ANZ passengers on the usual seatbelt-clicking, oxygen mask-wearing policies.

But many people have commented on social media that they feel the video is sexist. "It seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me," university lecturer and feminist commentator Deborah Russell told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Says Air New Zealand spokesperson Andrew Aitken, "We have been careful to ensure 'Safety in Paradise' has been produced in a way that is tasteful."

In a January interview, ANZ CEO Christopher Luxon told CNN that the company's fun videos help interject personality into an otherwise boring aspect of flying. "We know that we actually get our customers watching and interpreting and internalizing our safety messages, better than I would argue anyone else, because we get their attention with the video," he says. 

He continues, "We've had 12 million people watch our Hobbit safety video on YouTube and you sit there and go, that's quite an incredible thing. But it's another small example of just how we think that we can deliver the table stakes of a great airline but actually do it with a twist and with some personality along the way."

Some of Air New Zealand's past safety videos have featured everyone from Richard Simmons to Snoop Dogg. The most recent headline-making stunt featured a pretty obvious "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" tie-in commercial (obvious, considering the movie trilogy was filmed in the country), and debuted exclusively on Zap2it.

Jimmy Kimmel will reveal the cover of the 2014 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition on his show on Thursday (Feb. 13).

Watch the video below and tell us what you think in the comments: 


Photo/Video credit: Air New Zealand