Nothing can squash the incredible, exhilarating power of human flight.
Nothing, except for another sluggish in-flight safety video.
For decades, airlines treated these short demonstrations as a tedious necessity—educating flyers on the intricacies of operating a seatbelt and reminding us that should oxygen masks fall from above, you’ll want to put one on your face.
But then something changed. Airlines began to realize that this 3- to 5-minute procedure offers a chance to connect with passengers, rather than put them to sleep. Airlines—as brands—could capitalize on the opportunity to make something noteworthy. Something with potential to go (groan) viral.
Please make sure your seat back and folding tray tables are in the upright position as we look at how airlines have employed everything from Gollum to Keyboard Cat in their efforts to transform the in-flight safety tutorial into brilliant marketing content:
Air New Zealand
When it comes to engaging in-flight videos, Air New Zealand is the unquestioned leader (see here, here, here, and here). Their #AirNZHobbit execution is particularly noteworthy for its effortless tie-in to Peter Jackson’s films, which are shot in New Zealand. Cross-promotions run the risk of coming across as contrived, but here it adds a fitting touch of personality.
What begins as a fairly typical safety video slowly morphs into anything but. Icelandair uses its safety instruction video as a platform to showcase the incredible beauty of Iceland. Rather than putting flyers to sleep, it piques their excitement with a small dose of the adventures to come.
Who says you have to be on a plane to enjoy a safety demonstration? Emirates balks at that notion and brings its safety video to life in a more engaging location: a football match in Lisbon.
So this isn’t technically a safety video—but it’s worthy of a shout-out all the same. Alternate versions of this “faux-mercial” tease Turkish Airline flights to the fictional cities of Metropolis and Gotham, each borrowing clips and characters from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While the tie-in isn’t quite as clear as New Zealand Air’s partnership with The Hobbit, these spots get credit for their unflinchingly earnest delivery.
[ED. NOTE: These commercials have been taken down by Turkish Airlines. Which is a shame, really—considering they were more artfully executed than the film itself.]
Fly anywhere lately? What are some others that we missed? Let us know on Twitter!