The Power of Human Content: Virgin America’s New Safety Video

Modern Marketing


If you are a seasoned traveler, there isn’t much more boring and mundane – and critically important – than the safety announcements at the beginning of any flight.

Most of us “veteran travelers” have them memorized. In fact, I’m waiting for the day a flight attendant calls on me to give the pre-take off presentation. I’m pretty confident I could recite them word for word. (Please be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.)

However, the problem with messaging that’s always the same (and boring and mundane) is that we tend to tune it out. In some cases, this is a good thing (we already know what to do!); in other instances, we may miss an important update. Note: messaging can mean any piece of content – video, blog post, social media update, email marketing message, etc.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) was the first airline – to my knowledge – that started having a bit of fun with the pre-flight announcements. I’ve heard quite a few SWA flight attendants sing the safety announcement. I’ve even heard one guy perform an original rap. They took something boring and mundane, and turned it in content that is human.

Virgin America Takes Human to a New Level

Since its first flight in 2007, Virgin America has embraced the SWA model of making airline travel fun. From the music they play as you print out your boarding pass (and when you board the plane), to the disco-like lighting in the cabin, Virgin exudes fun – and human!

In fact, the company slogan is “A Breath of Fresh Airline.”

I recently took my first flight ever on Virgin America. For all of the flying I’ve done over my lifetime, it’s amazing that I had never flown Virgin. In fact,  I wrote this blog post while on board my Virgin America flight back to SFO. And I’ve got the picture to prove it:


dj waldow virgin flight

True to form, my first Virgin Airline experience was fun. Yes, I just mentioned “air travel” and “fun” in the same sentence. While the flight attendants did not sing (or rap), they did direct us all to the personal screens in the seat back, where we watched this bit of awesome:

The New Virgin America Safety Video

It’s well worth the next 5 minutes of your life. Yes, it’s a 5-minute long video…about airplane safety. 5 minutes! Trust me. Go watch it now. Then keep reading below. I’ll wait.

Can’t see the video? Try watching directly on YouTube.

Why The Virgin America Safety Video is So Awesome:

The video featured, in no particular order:

  • A nun
  • A few VERY flexible individuals
  • A guy pulling a laptop out from under his shirt
  • A girl rapping
  • 5 “Men in Black”-like robots
  • A boy rapping

Pretty amazing, right?

I don’t know about you, but not only did the video capture my attention – for the entire 5 minutes — but I’ve found myself humming along with the tune! I can’t quite get the song out of my head, which is both a good and bad thing.

Just as Ann Handley told us on this week’s podcast, any piece of innovative content should be useful, enjoyable, and inspirational. This video was 3 for 3.

So the next time you begin working on a piece of content – an email marketing message, a direct mail flyer, a social media update, a blog post, a video, or anything else – consider adding a human touch.

After all, 99.9% of the time, the people viewing your content are human.