Air New Zealand deserves respect for its pre-flight safety videos. A few years ago they brought Richard Simmons back from the dead (figuratively if not literally) to get passengers’ attention and later followed it up with an entire crew in their birthday suits. Both videos cracked me up when I watched them for the first time and made me think of flying them if only to see the videos in person. For a product like economy air travel, which is essentially a commodity, they managed to differentiate themselves from the competition simply by filming a new safety video and making it do double duty as an advertisement. How clever is that?
But like any advertisement, it needs to be refreshed constantly. Whatever you might think of United’s new ones, you have to admit the old video was incredibly boring and dated. It reminded you before every flight that United as a whole was boring and dated. Air New Zealand will have none of that. Their newest version is clever and riffs off established celebrity personalities Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey, among others. Although I’m not much of a fan of Modern Family, the only thing that makes the show bearable is Ed, so it’s nice to see him there. I only wish he was more gruff and sarcastic. My guess is the FAA doesn’t have a sense of humor.
The cartoon style reminds me a lot of Virgin America’s video. I’m not sure which I like better. Virgin America actually annoys me with all their sarcastic and preachy hipster attitude, so maybe Air New Zealand’s approach isn’t so bad. That said, I do think the Richard Simmons clip is my favorite. And there’s no way anyone is going to be able to ignore him.
For the longest time, most airlines seemed to completely ignore pre-flight safety videos.Maybe this was because in-flight entertainment systems are a relatively recent innovation. As a child of the ’80s, I think I am well within my rights to begin sentences with “Back in the old days…” Before smart phones, laptops, and any cable news channel other than CNN, pre-flight safety demonstrations were nothing more than a boring speech with some flight attendants awkwardly miming how to successfully survive any unfortunate scenario. In an age when so many services in the air are being cut, it’s nice to see an airline take something basic so seriously and still have fun doing it.