Airline creativity taken to a new level – safety video meets music video

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Airlines have been stepping up their creative game over the past few years. KLM for one has shown what social media marketing is really about (see some of their work here), SAS pushed the boundaries of Facebook to maximize the impact of their seat sale (see here), and Spanair gave a new meaning to Christmas (see here).

Arguably KLM is the only Brand that has gotten very close to adding value to the actual flying experience with their check-in Twitter program (see here). The one highly visible, high engagement touchpoint that no airlines aside from Virgin America and Air New Zealand have touched is the inflight safety video. Clearly the seriousness of the content and the importance of delivering it with utter clarity has made executives fearful of adding too much creativity. However, we all know that many people ignore these films, thinking that they already know “the drill”. Meanwhile, a bit of creativity and surprise will achieve what every airline wants – for its passengers to pay attention.

Virgin America has taken the safety video to a new level by turning it into half musical, half music video. The content is so entertaining yet maintains the simplicity and clarity that the airline needs to get the different instructions across to its passengers. I think that they have opened up a new doorway into what instructional videos can look like.

The other airline that has played with the inflight safety video is Air New Zealand. They leveraged the launch of the Hobbit film to not just make their video more entertaining, but also promoting New Zealand in the process. Clearly this content was more opportunistic and not a systematic change to the content policy as is the case with Virgin America. However, the work is still eye-opening to a previously untouched asset.

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