Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Many brands create ads for the Holidays.

These ads exist to make people feel good and the brand feel supremely smug about its sense of human understanding.

And then there's Air New Zealand.

This highly popular and much awarded little jewel just released a Christmas ad that includes good intentions, bad intentions, Santa, and, oh, a considerable tweaking for Donald Trump.

The conceit here is that Santa isn't so dexterous with his computer. 

He makes a mistake while trying to send his Naughty List to his elves. 

Instead, he sends it to one of the children on the list. 

That child is, at first, stunned, but then decides to convene a summit of the world's naughty kids.

One of whom bears a remarkable resemblance to a little Donald Trump, complete with little red cap and big scowl.

At the summit, the kids all make offers of good behavior.

Why, the New Zealanders even offer to be nicer to Australians. (I'm not sure how many Australians will find that funny.)

And then there's the U.S. delegate: 

I have to say, I'm not naughty at all. In fact, I'm the nicest person I know.

Oh goodness, I smell an international incident coming on. 

Especially as all the other kids laugh at the child in the red cap. Which bears an eerie echo of the president's recent appearance at the United Nations.

Some will regard this ad as a horrible slight on the U.S. president. They'll huff that New Zealand isn't without its problems. They might suggest America could invade the little island.

Others will huff back that one of the president's own supporters, famed tech investor Peter Thiel, has taken on New Zealand citizenship in case of an apocalypse.

And so, a convivial run-up to Christmas is enjoyed by all.

For a national carrier to belittle a president might seem unnecessary. Or, perhaps, it's merely a sign of our difficult times.

It's not, though, I think, the first time an Antipodean airline has mocked an American president.

I have a recollection of an Australian airline -- was it Qantas? -- running an ad lauding its three flights a day to some destination or other. It was accompanied by an image of Ronald Reagan holding up two fingers.

He wasn't entirely respected in some parts of the world, either.

Oh, mixing business and politics is difficult. It used to be thought extremely unwise. These days, however, with tariffs and discriminatory laws, it's inevitable. 

Even, it seems, in the season of goodwill.

Published on: Nov 30, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.