I've been flying Virgin America domestically for a while; I love the inflight experience, from the order-at-your-seat refreshments to personal entertainment screens. The flight attendants seem capable and friendly (and took care of me most recently when I got sick on a flight). Virgin America has also always had a bit of a sense of humor when it comes to safety videos.
VA's previous animated video was jaggedly drawn, a bit jarring and edgy, chill and sarcastic, featuring a bullfighter who didn't know how to use a seatbelt and a nun who was traveling with more devices than you might think a woman of the cloth might acquire. And then a few months ago, a new video dawned on Virgin America - flashy, with choreography and different styles of music to drive the safety messages home, with karaoke-style subtitles to encourage people to sing along (and hopefully remember the instructions in a way that didn't induce the panic that comes with realizing that those safety instructions are supposed to guide us in the event of a catastrophic air event, but I digress, and yes, I do have airplane anxiety, why do you ask?).
Tonight I just viewed a new safety video that must have been created to compete with (or perhaps, "pay homage to") the Virgin America style. The unlikely airline challenger? El Al, Israel airways, with a video with a kitschy, near-nonsensical vibe, that doesn't even attempt to rhyme and is so weird that I can't believe this is the first time I'm seeing it. (Video embeds and more discussion after the jump.)
I picture the following creative meeting:
El Al: What we really need is something hipper, more like Virgin America's safety video.
Creative agency: No problem.
El Al: Do you think we need the words to rhyme?
Creative agency: Nah. Why bother?
El Al: And what about the melody? We definitely want everyone to be singing it after the video finishes.
Creative agency: Well, the secret to that is to have as few words in the chorus as possible. Like, "Everybody Up Up, yeah yeah."
El Al: But what does that mean?
Creative agency: Exactly. It will dig into people's brains and they won't even remember where it came from.
El Al: Doesn't it need a verb?
Creative agency: A verb? You want people verbing all over your plane? As it is, they complain, wander the aisles, raid the galley and push each other around. They don't need any more verbs, thank you.
El Al: Well, you guys are the experts. What about costumes?
Creative agency: You just leave that to us. We bought a whole bunch of costumes from a local production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and are having them tailored by the people responsible for the Eurovision costumes. Yiheyeh b'seder.
El Al: Sounds great. Let's do it!!
Or maybe that's not the way it happened.
But in any case, relaying the safety instructions takes about 3 minutes. (I've flown so many times I could probably do it in 2.5.) Both of these videos are closer to 5 minutes - the VA video is catchy and has lots of humor for the eye to find during subsequent viewings, while the El Al video is goofy and conveys the information but opting for odd rather than slick. (And Hebrew is oddly missing, as is any kind of reflection of the culture and history of Israel; with so much great music available in Israel, I found myself wondering why no one had teamed up Idan Raichel and Ivri Lider to do a video that better reflects the country.)
Thoughts? How do you feel about these videos? Has the creative risk behind these videos yielded effective rewards? Or would you rather go back to flight attendants doing the shtick live, showing you how to buckle a seatbelt and miming blowing into the red tubes on the life vest?