How S7 Helped OK Go Make Maybe the Best Safety Video in the History of Ever

Like nearly everyone else on the planet connected to the internet (actually nearly 33 Million out of over 3 Billion, but who’s doing the maths?), I was tossed for a spin by the wonderful new OK Go “Upside Down & Inside Out” music video filmed with help from Russian carrier S7 Airlines.

When I first saw the video I had this take:

Of course, it wasn’t intended to be a safety video.

But I really believe that I was wrong.

This not-another-safety-video could be the best way in the sky to explain the dynamics in the cabin during severe turbulence–except with vibrant colours, acrobatics which put Cirque du Soleil to shame, more dancing, and great music in the background.

Here’s why: Physics. Wired did a great job of explaining the dynamics involved in creating this illusion of a continuous zero-G environment.   

Don’t think your seat belt makes a difference? Notice the guys have them on–not just at the beginning, but in other takes. Notice too what happens when they take them off.

We’ve covered dangers of severe turbulence, why you should wear your seatbelt even when the light is off, and why you need to safely stow your electronic devices before take off and landing.

But there’s nothing like laptops spinning inside an aircraft to drive the message home.

The band carefully choreographed the video–including that part where they swap tablets back and forth–but most of us aren’t this prepared for accelerated drops when we fly.

Stowing your bags in the bins above, keeping the exit aisles clear, understanding why flight attendants also need to be secure in their seats when there’s a threat of turbulence (flight attendants on your plane will not use turbulence as an opportunity to show off their acrobatics and dance skills)..OK Go beautifully illustrate why all these cabin safety procedures are important.

Of course, the video is fun. The music is great. The band demonstrates genius in planning this complicated Zero-G dance to perfection. But getting it right involved some bumps along the way.

As Stereogum reports:

“Because we wanted the video to be a single, uninterrupted routine, we shot continuously over the course of eight consecutive weightless periods, which took about 45 minutes, total,” explains Trish Sie, who directed the clip with her brother, OK Go frontman Damien Kulash, Jr. “We paused the action, and the music, during the non-weightless periods, and then cut out these sections and smoothed over each transition with a morph.”

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video which shows takes used to produce the prolonged Zero-G effects we enjoy in the final cut.

OK Go filmed the video in a cabin which was mostly empty.

When things floated and tossed around they were soft and light: no heavy packed luggage, no food trolleys.

So I think it is a great (and fun) way to show why those in-flight instructions are important. Airlines don’t want any of us upside down or inside out. Perhaps gravity is just a habit–as the band says–but safety is a good habit too.

The video was also a brilliant branding move by S7, which has built a reputation for itself as an innovative airline, unafraid to try something different.

S7 gave us The Imagination Machine, after all:

Plus one of my favourite ads from an airline–I challenge you not to get teary eyed.

S7 has focused its marketing on calling attention to its international routes, as a member of the oneworld alliance. And this OK Go video will certainly earn the airline recognition around the globe.

The airline has featured its collaboration with OK Go on its social media channels.

s7-magazine-02-2016 copyThe Full Story of filming “Gravity’s Just a Habit” is also featured in the Latest Issue of S7’s Inflight Magazine, starting on page 32 (in Russian).

 

Upside Down & Inside Out isn’t a safety video but it is a great illustration of why safety matters and a brilliant marketing strategy by S7 to piggy-back on this viral video for epic brand recognition.  (33 Million views and counting in a little over a day…)

 

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