As a Canadian I think I’m pretty spoiled. I have the pleasure of hearing the in-flight safety instructions twice — once in English and once in French, preferably alternating. In fact, the first and second time flying most passengers pay close attention to the safety instructions, maybe it even deserves a third glance. If you’re a life-long learner like me you will no doubt try to memorize it (why can’t they give certificates in BFS 101 – basic flight safety?). However all jokes aside, I think creators of the new in-flight safety videos have really hit on something. Their target audience is younger and cooler, and these videos are geared toward the passenger who has been on more than three flights as well as the passenger who has never flown.
The frequent flyer at some point learns to tune out in-flight safety measures. I admit I am also guilty of this phenomenon. As we get comfortable with flying, the minutes (what can seem like hours) between boarding the aircraft and the moment of takeoff can be wisely used to check out the sports section or catch up on some reading. We play with our phones until the last possible moment, sending a final text:
“About to take-off. Will reunite soon! Love ya!” while hoping autocorrect doesn’t play cheeky “About to take a willing tribute soon! Katniss!”
Airplane mode on.
Although cellular functions are off limits, on the other hand I am really pleased about a new flight feature which allows access to WiFi after the plane has taken off. So if you’re stuck on a level of Candy Crush, play on I say, play on! Although for nearly $10 you may want to consider actually getting some work done or sending out emails. Yet with all of these distractions what will make us pay attention again to the safety part of the (to quote Air Canada) “your safety and comfort are important to us”?
Smart advertising is giving the in-flight safety video a facelift. Bring in the Hobbit, 80′s hairstyles, a catchy doowop and dance moves. If that’s not enough, Sports Illustrated models will make sure you’ve safely stowed away your carry-on and fastened your seat belt quicker than you can do a cartoonish “hubba hubba”. Too sexy? Maybe cut out the pool boy. Actually don’t he adds to the cheesiness. At least you can’t argue with the kiddo’s well-delivered “the beauty of safety” tagline.
These new videos have achieved triple functions of the changing image of the airline industry. First, it makes a memorable impression for the airlines themselves and shows that they are trustworthy. They prioritize your safety and are reassuring despite that they may not be statistically the safest airline in the world…I’m looking at you Qantas! They also don’t need to ask for your attention; they’re entertaining and immediately draw you in with some comic relief so that you want to watch it on repeat. This is a classic example of what a prof once shared with me — the secret to learning is when you don’t realize you’re learning at all! Thus it improves the goals of the industry overall to ensure your satisfaction. Lastly, it is encouraging; they show just how much fun and safe being up in the air can be to those not-so-frequent flyers while catering to a diverse crowd. Who knows? You might meet a Legolas lookalike or an America’s Got Talent star. I wouldn’t be surprised if sales have increased for Delta, Virgin and Air New Zealand. If anything, this has been a great branding opportunity.
Air Canada’s current in-flight safety video is very down-to-earth, but we Canadians have a good sense of humour too (read: pleasantly tacky). Should we consider making something a little more (aero)dynamic?
Check these out and let me know what you think!
*This blog post was inspired by my love of flying and a keen interesting in advertising. It represents solely my opinions and has not been sponsored in any way (although that would be nice).