Of course not. But their advertising departments appear to be run by the same person. How else do you explain Rico, the trash-talking puppet who is featured in two new Air New Zealand ads.

Echoes of every recent Spirit Air promotion in there, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s the other ad:

One item that seems to be getting missed by the many travel bloggers who have written about Rico is that he’s supposed to be a travel writer. According to Air New Zealand’s Jules Lloyd, Rico is,

A well-meaning, budding travel author, who discovers and shares the many joys to be experienced on board the new 777-300’s. Unable to contain his enthusiasm for life, Rico lets his passion rub off all over his fellow travellers through sharing some intimate moments with them—with awkward, amusing results.

Why is Air New Zealand being so racy? Because it works. Five million viewers can’t be wrong, can they?

I’m not one to take the moral high ground here. I grew up in Europe, which is a lot less prudish than the U.S. when it comes to clothing. I’m also on record as being supportive of clothing-optional vacations.

But since Rico is supposed to be one of us, I’m not all that amused.