Did everyone catch the new British Airways safety video the airline released for the Comic Relief charity in the U.K? With over 3.2 million views on YouTube (at time of writing), it’s safe to assume at least some of you caught it. Featuring a ton of everyone’s favorite British celebrities, the video plays like a casting call where famous actors audition to star in the airline’s short film detailing airplane protocol for passengers. This video will debut as British Airways’ official safety video on airplanes as of September 1st, but what’s telling is that the airline released this video online first.
Not only that, BA even released a trailer for the video. This is just one instance of airlines using safety videos combined with influencers to market their brands online. Although airlines using their safety videos for marketing purposes isn’t that new, now these companies are using online video and working with influencers more than ever to advertise to a younger and more tech-savvy audience. Let’s take a look at some of the airlines working with stars (both online and influencers from the worlds of film and TV) and using videos both safety and otherwise to grow their online audiences.
Behind the Scenes with Air New Zealand
On July 18th 2017, Air New Zealand uploaded a video to Facebook that goes behind the scenes of their latest safety video. The video shows how the crew set up green screens in conjunction with beautiful locations to take passengers on a fantastic journey. Not only that, but the hosts of this safety video happen to be none other than Cuba Gooding Jr. and Katie Holmes.
The video was the fifth most-viewed airline safety clip uploaded to Facebook in the last 90 days. Tubular data shows us that it had over 105,000 views in the first three days after the video was uploaded. This video isn’t even the full safety tutorial and yet it was successful online. This is because airlines are beginning to understand that audiences enjoy bite-sized, easily digestible content on social platforms. Just like British Airways, Air New Zealand knew that they could draw in an audience by teasing their new safety video and the influencers that star in it, potentially creating a larger viewership when the actual full-length clip debuts online.
Delta Airlines: Sports and Gaming
Delta released this safety video featuring sports legends like Serena Williams, Major League Baseball players from the New York Yankees and Mets and the Atlanta Braves, and Chelsea Football Club in September 2016. In the video, the star athletes morph into video game characters and so the safety instructions become a sort of interactive game. Not only do these prominent figures appeal to a young audience as influencers but the type of video this is (gaming) is hugely popular online.
The combination of famous faces and popular video style makes this video the second most viewed airline safety video uploaded to Facebook in the last 365 days. Delta’s airline safety video received 906,000 views with 856,000 of those views occurring in the first 30 days from when the clip was uploaded. It’s clear that Delta’s marketing team had online audiences in mind when creating this very modern safety video.
Middle East Airlines: Bilingual Creative
This Middle East Airlines clip was the third most-viewed airline safety video uploaded to Facebook in the last 365 days. This video doesn’t feature any influencers per se, but does feature young men and women in hip, casual clothing clearly attempting to represent the safety clip’s target audience. Another element that may have factored into the video’s popularity: it’s bilingual. Audiences searching online platforms are global; they live all over the world and speak different languages. The more global variety you introduce in a video, the more people who find something to relate to in it.
Air Liban’s August 2016 safety video received 865,000 views on Facebook with 835,000 of those views occurring in the first 30 days since the video was uploaded. This safety video isn’t incredibly flashy, but it features several creative elements that online audiences can connect to and that’s why it was compelling to people on Facebook.
American Airlines: Wants Your Attention
The interesting thing about American Airlines safety video is that it is actually somewhat traditional and yet was the fifth most-viewed airline safety video uploaded to Facebook in the last 365 days. The video doesn’t feature influencers, there isn’t a pop music score or popular online theme like gaming. American Airlines’ approach was seemingly to take a straightforward safety video and apply small twists making the safety instructions seem fresh and often, quite funny. For example, when a man tries to smoke a cigarette from his airplane seat, a blue hand appears as if from nowhere and removes it or the viewer thinks they’re looking at an actual plane and it turns out to be a projection on a screen.
This September 2016 video received 775,000 views with 766,000 of those views occurring in the first 30 days from when the video was uploaded. Airlines don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to safety videos. However, airlines should be updating their safety videos and they should be marketing them online to appear current.
Whether it’s releasing an online trailer, debuting a new video in conjunction with a popular initiative, featuring celebrities and influencers or styling a clip so that it falls into a popular social platform vertical, airlines are marketing their videos online more than ever in the hopes of reaching a younger audience. Tricks and flashy set pieces are great, but more importantly, airlines are trying to create something relatable that online audiences can connect to. By seeing someone recognizable or laughing at a funny moment, not only are viewers put at ease while watching people talk about airline safety, but they feel a camaraderie with that airline and are therefore more likely to fly with them. And at the end of the day airlines just want passengers to feel safe with them and fly with them for years to come.