Flashback: I'm 10 years old. I'm on an airplane, watching the safety video with white-knuckled attentiveness. The words hold the key to my future existence, and I am not going to miss a single syllable.
Fast forward: These days, I don't even notice the in-flight videos. Those messages that once demanded my attention are now white noise that blends right into the hum of the engines.
Can you relate?
Funny In-Flight Safety Videos: A Brief History
While the majority of in-flight safety videos still classify as boring, a recent trend has emerged. Since 2008, airlines have begun taking a creative approach to delivering in-flight safety instructions (see the timeline below).
As Adweek recently reported, airlines are increasingly using humor and intrigue to grab--and hold on to--passengers' attention. Virgin America has gone over the top with an in-flight safety music video. And since introducing "Deltalina" in 2008, Delta continues to play with quirky jokes and sight gags. Its latest holiday-themed in-flight video incorporates the cameo technique the airline first introduced in 2012.
I first experienced this new approach in 2011 aboard an Air New Zealand flight, embarking upon a semester abroad. As we were taking off for Auckland, I put down my book for the entire duration of the Richard Simmons video and chuckled along with my fellow passengers as we watched his antics. Since then, Air New Zealand has introduced four iterations--the company's latest video featuring Betty White.
Why shake things up?
These federally-mandated safety videos are a perfect marketing opportunity. Airline passengers are the ultimate captive audience. What better use of in-flight videos is there than to tell the brand story? Better yet, the story gets told and retold off the airplane: posted online, these creative videos serve double duty as a social media marketing tool. Many have hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of views on YouTube.
The Best of the Best: Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand, in my admittedly biased opinion, does the best job of leveraging the marketing potential. The airline has employed star power--Bear Grylls and All-Blacks, in addition to Richard Simmons and Betty White--to showcase its country. The Bear Grylls version spotlights beautiful landscapes. The Betty White video embraces the Kiwi accent while appealing to both older generations who are familiar with her, as well as a younger "Off Their Rockers" audience. And a Hobbit-inspired video underscores New Zealand's tourism draw as the home of J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle Earth, earning more than 11 million views on YouTube.
Take-aways for Marketers
Make use of every possible opportunity to tell your story. Know your audience. Leverage social media as much as possible. And don't be afraid to be creative and push the limits!
Could a little extra creativity shake up your industry, too? We want to help you answer that question and move your organization closer to its target audiences.
Flight Video Chronology
February 20, 2008: Delta youtube.com/watch?v=MgpzUo_kbFY
June 22, 2009: Air NZ - Body Paint youtube.com/watch?v=7-Mq9HAE62Y
January 6, 2010: Southwest Airlines youtube.com/watch?v=DYA_ivyj3kE
August 26, 2010 Thompson youtube.com/watch?v=OjYD03Ozkp8
March 27, 2011: ANZ -Simmons youtube.com/watch?v=AIC_hM0r68o
May 26, 2011: Turkish Airlines youtube.com/watch?v=pBIlmmpqmdY
November 25, 2011: Air NZ - All Blacks youtube.com/watch?v=yJ_kMrDmlQY
November 1, 2012: Delta youtube.com/watch?v=wK0Ago6Kb0E
November 1, 2012: Delta youtube.com/watch?v=noE1YzvfA08
October 31, 2012: Air NZ - Hobbits youtube.com/watch?v=cBlRbrB_Gnc
February 27, 2013: Air NZ - Bear Grylls youtube.com/watch?v=xJheoLUtX_Q
October 9, 2013: Air NZ - Betty White youtube.com/watch?v=O-5gjkh4r3g
October 24, 2013: Delta - Holiday youtube.com/watch?v=0P-fqUoHMBc
October 29, 2013: Virgin America - Dance youtube.com/watch?v=DtyfiPIHsIg