How Virgin America Transformed Their Safety Video Into An Ad
This week, anyone following Mashable or Fast Company has probably heard about the new Virgin America safety video that you actually want to watch. This video is hip enough that it has its own hashtag on for social media- #VXsafetydance for anyone curious- and Virgin America is even inviting people to submit videos of themselves dancing to the soundtrack on Instagram for a chance to win a guest spot on the video (don’t worry, I haven’t tried). The video has been making waves in social media and its creativity is extraordinary. It is no surprise Virgin America took this step, with Richard Branson’s celebrity billionaire status and the airline’s forward looking approach to the flying experience.
The video is certainly hip, but is it effective?
To start with, the video itself is a little longer- five minutes in total- than the typical crew-member instructions I’m used to hearing on flights (around 4 minutes for the previous Virgin America video (link), and closer to 3 for crew members talking on my recent travels). And it is a bit harder to grasp the message of the video itself when the focus is so heavily on dancing. That said, Virgin’s approach is extremely creative and is certainly more noticeable than the United Airlines CEO talking with a green screen and a fake plant in the foreground, or the generic voices heard on most flights.
What may be most remarkable is the audience: people not on Virgin America’s airplanes. To give some context, from August 2012 to August 2013, Virgin America had 590,000 passengers (link). In the first day the video was posted on YouTube, had more than 1.5 million views. The video has been viewed twice as many times in the first day of its release as people who saw the previous safety video over an entire year. Virgin America has effectively turned its safety video into an ad that makes a statement: we’re different, we’re hip, you want to fly with us.
This raises an important question: what other routine messages can we turn into something bolder, something greater than the original intended concept? Where would you like to see a little more excitement? Share your ideas in the comment section or on our Facebook page.
– Trevor (Digital Communications Strategist)