Airline safety presentations are a yawn to most of us: a bored flight attendant stands in the aisle, her yellow inflatable vest and toothy smile straining as she signals robotically to the exits at the fore and rear of the flight cabin. A slightly too-chipper voice narrates through a grainy speaker while passengers are reading or playing on their phones in those last crucial moments before takeoff. A child cries in the distance.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? Virgin America Airlines changed the game with their video called “The VX Safety Dance,” a five-minute-long ode to the rules of flight safety. This upbeat, multi-genre video has over 11 million views on YouTube as of now, in addition to the many viewings they’ve shown onboard their aircraft.
Virgin America is not the first to give the standard safety demo a makeover. For the past few years, Southwest Airlines has been catching attention for their flight attendants’ personalized comedy routines. In fact, flight attendant Marty Cobb appeared on The Ellen Show in 2014 due to the popularity of her routine. Several other customer-uploaded videos have gotten tens of thousands of views on YouTube.
Virgin America was quick to take what Southwest started and run with it. The airline enlisted veteran dance movie director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2, Step Up 3D) and a team of experienced choreographers, producers and dance stars to turn this obligatory FAA regulation into a must-watch phenomenon. For the video, 36 dancers spent 26 hours on set, and employed 14 different dance styles including Broadway, contemporary, jazz, tango, b-boy and break dancing. The video features 2 former Olympians, an American Idol finalist and 10 So You Think You Can Dance participants.
From the hundreds of thousands of shares this video has merited on social media, it’s easy to see that Virgin America’s video is a colossal success. Not only does it engage passengers, improve flight safety and free up time for flight attendants, the VX Safety Dance has put Virgin America Airlines strongly in the public eye as a fun and desirable company to fly with. It certainly wasn’t a cheap venture, but from a marketing standpoint it’s safe to say the VX Safety Video has definitely paid off. As we at Satori say: the juice was worth the squeeze.