How Virgin America turned "boring" into "bold"

Let’s face it, when Virgin America came out with their awesome flight safety musical video, it set a new standard for how to use song and dance to tell a brand’s story!  They took something that people don’t want to sit through when they’re strapped into an airplane seat, and turned it into something that almost 13-million people have voluntarily watched, not being strapped into anything!  It was not only on-brand, but entertaining and uniquely engaging. Let’s look at why it was so awesomely successful!

It entertains

First and foremost, this video is fun!  It makes flying in an airplane fun, and brings to life the Virgin experience in a really cool and exciting way.  Each section of the song is unique, and the energy of the entire video is fun and engaging.  So much so that people want to share it even when they are not directly engaging with Virgin America!  It’s part music video part instructional demonstration.  It capitalizes on the best of both worlds in a way that you don’t even realize you’re being educated – you just think you’re getting entertained!

It keeps moving

Not only is there movement and dance throughout the entire video, but section by section, the storytelling keeps moving and evolving.  One moment it’s a single person singing, then there’s a kid acting like he’s James Brown, followed by a group of pop-and-locking dancers in blowup safety vests.  You can’t get bored with this piece because it keeps moving and changing…and because it keeps you engaged!

It’s novel

No matter how many times you’ve flown on an airplane, and how many savvy flight attendants have tried to spice up their flight safety talks with a wink and a joke, nothing comes close to how different this video is from any other flight-safety message.  It’s truly unique, it’s one of a kind.  And because of that it stands out, people perk up and listen, and watch.  It’s the same information people have heard countless times, but told in a DIFFERENT way.

The message is loud and clear

As fun and exciting and colorful and fabulous as the video is, it is also totally on brand, and totally gets their message across.  They even had flight attendants on duty during filming to ensure the message was being told accurately and safely which, in the end, is the most important reason for having a video like this.  Safety first!  Only because viewers are engaged the entire time, they actually take in the information, not just stare at the flight attendant in the cabin while pretending not to listen to their secretly-stashed iPod.  And in the end, the more engaged people are, they more the message gets across.

Geoffrey Goldberg