Star power in British Airways’ new safety video

Ever since Air New Zealand (Air NZ) made the bold move to ditch the traditional safety video format for something more entertaining, some airlines have followed suit to be different. It started with the objective to arrest the attention of passengers who would otherwise be disinterested. It has certainly become a talking point that raises the profile of the airline – for as long as the script remains topical and appealing.

The pertinent question is at what point the new video ceases to be a safety demo and becomes pure entertainment with a life of its own. That depends on how well the safety message still comes through taken out of the normal environment of the aircraft. And when the production tries to do more than just educate and entertain but advertise or sell a third product, things can get pretty muddled up as in the case of a joint promotion by Qantas and Australian Tourism.

Courtesy British Airways

What appeals to the passengers? A good story or a favorite movie recall such as Air NZ’s adoption of the Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth. Or, popular personalities, particularly movie idols, as British Airways (BA) has done with a new star-powered video to be launched in September. It features Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gordon Ramsay, Thandie Newton, Ian McKellen, Jim Broadbent and Gillian Anderson among others, not forgetting, of course, Rowan Atkinson aka Mr Bean! It is clearly British humor, and to the production’s credit, executed without shadowing the safety message.

BA chairman and CEO Alex Cruz said: “It’s extremely important to us that customers engage with our safety video, and involving some of the nation’s most well-know personalities has given us the chance to create something fun that we hope people will watch from start to finish – and remember.”

However, the old format, dull as it is, never gets out of date whereas the new format needs to keep up with the times to sustain the excitement. While many would just do something else instead of watching the old video, equally many others may sigh “not again” if the newly formatted version becomes an over-shown re-run. Passengers will therefore expect seasonal changes. Well, at least that’s something to look forward to.


Safety videos don’t have to be boring: Air New Zealand takes you to Middle Earth

AIR New Zealand did it again – to show that safety videos do not have to be boring and can in fact be entertaining.

Courtesy Air new Zealand

In 2009, it was the Bare Essentials of Safety, showing body-painted crew delivering the message. In 2011, it was the All-Blacks theme. And the latest, which has just been unveiled, is An Unexpected Briefing (with reference, of course, to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey based on the works of J R R Tolkien. The video features pointy-eared flight crew and is filled with elves, hobbits, wizards and all that you can remember of the world of Lord of the Rings, with even a cameo appearance by director Peter Jackson finding that famous ring.

Courtesy Air New zealand

Credit goes to Air New Zealand for making the crew stars and involving passengers in delivering the safety message (though not in the 2009 video). If you are one of those who switch off when a safety video is shown before take-off, it is likely you will not give this one a miss.