Years from now, anthropologists will debate the exact moment that the genre of the entertainment safety video crossed over from the sublime to the ridiculous. To save them time, I’m positing that the meme finally killed it off, and it was the incredible success of Delta’s Internetest Safety Video on the Internet that done it in.

How can over 9 Million views on YouTube be a bad thing, you ask? 

UPDATE Delta has taken its most popular safety video of all time private. A story in itself, which I am investigating with the airline. However, the internet never forgets so for the purpose of posterity, here is the original.

Because they urge you to best that incredible success, and result in this:

[Update Note: I have not yet found the follow-up video which was also pulled to private, but it’s just more of the same above with a bit of a stretch.]

Hence this:

And this:

Is this the death toll of the creative marketing/safety attention getter? If so, is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.

Perhaps it is time to remember that these are Safety Videos–and put greater emphasis on the safety part.

Perhaps it is also time that airlines find a new and unexpected way to differentiate their brand and connect with customers.

Sometimes too much success at the box office leads to a flop. The ‘If everyone is doing it, why don’t we?’ approach will ultimately lead to audience exhaustion.

Unless you’re a Zombie. Zombie tropes last forever, it seems. Vampires too. I’m not suggesting either of these themes make it on to tomorrow’s IFE and computer screens as safety videos. Please.

I’d argue there is still plenty of room for engaging safety videos in the industry. The idea of getting an audience to pay attention to something which could save their lives, and which they would otherwise ignore, is sound.

We can simply tone it down a few notches. And perhaps find new ways to engage online with customers in meaningful, lasting ways, and not just trying for that short-lived viral fame.

If you’re in airline marketing, perhaps this bell toll is an opportunity: a nudge to put on your thinking cap, a helpful hint that it’s time to generate the next wave.

Maybe that next wave is getting people to try living “offline” for a while. A good shot of analogue could be the cure for digital exhaustion. Who knows. We’ll find out.

These critical observations could bring with them a very positive message: “We’re looking forward to the next big thing. Surprise us!”

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