Monday, December 10, 2012

Delta Tries its Hand at Humor, and Fails

If you're a frequent flier--or even if you only travel occassionally--you are familiar with the mundane airline safety presentations. Most of us zone out the moment these come on the screen or the flight attendants start doing their choreagraphed dance at the front of the plane. I've heard the schpeel hundreds of times, so for me, it doesn't seem necessary to listen to it yet again; and I know I'm not alone in this. However, airlines continue to show them, well, because they have to. (It's mostly because of legal regulations, but there are always one or two passengers who are unfamiliar with the procedures.)

While airlines realize there are expert fliers on board who could quote the entire safety demonstration, they still want passengers to pay attention. Because, let's face it, if and when an emergency does happen, how many of us know-it-alls are actually going to remember where the life vest is or how to put on the oxygen mask or where the hell the exit is--oh crap, it might be behind you!

So, in an effort to make passengers pay attention, Delta Air Lines decided to take a humorous approach. It unveiled a funny safety video last month, which includes a robot that turns itself off before takeoff, a warning sign prohibiting playing squash onboard and a passenger in a neck brace who cannot turn around to see all the exits. Delta said it wanted to provide passengers with serious information, but wanted to connect with them and give them something a little more interesting to watch. The problem? The video isn't funny at all. It's a nice effort, really, but I don't think many people will find it humorous. In fact, I think this will turn people off from watching the safety demonstrations even more than before, because it's really just the same stuff with a few random images thrown in here and there. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, so take a look for yourself.

Clearly, Delta is trying to imitate the success of Air New Zealand, which created a number of crazy and quite funny safety videos with nude flight attendants, fitness celebrity Richard Simmons and "Lord of the Rings" characters. Now those were great videos. They got passengers' attention, and they held it the entire time, because the demonstrations were actually humorous, just because they were so ridiculous. Leave it to the Kiwis to be truly innovative.

So, which video would you pay attention to?

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