| The timing of the billboard campaign coincides with the pre-Academy Awards excitement, as the film is nominated in six categories, including Best Picture. The billboard reads, “Visit Middle Earth. They haven’t taken the set down,“ and the imagery features Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. The billboard imagery is similar to other New Zealand landscapes that provided the backdrop for the entire “The Lord of the Rings“ motion picture trilogy.
In December 2002, New Line Cinema and Air New Zealand announced a two-year joint venture to link publicity surrounding “The Lord of the Rings“ with New Zealand tourism. For promotional purposes, Air New Zealand is considered the “Airline to Middle Earth.“
“In addition to our themed aircraft, the billboards promote New Zealand, its connection with ’The Lord of the Rings’ and Air New Zealand’s status as the ’Airline to Middle Earth,’“ said John Petersen, Air New Zealand acting vice president - the Americas. “We hope that with the continued commercial success of the films, coupled with the critical Academy Award accolades, New Zealand will be THE tourist destination.“