Today’s post is by Peppercommer Jackie Kolek.
Let’s face it, traveling these days stinks. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, by plane, train or automobile, the experience is fraught with frustration. In the last week I had one day where I spent three hours trying to get to the airport in a blizzard because United refused to cancel my flight, only to have it cancelled and be forced to spend another three and a half hours getting home. Earlier this week both my Amtrak trains to Boston were cancelled due weather-related delays. It was the first day it had broken 35 degrees in weeks and there was no rain or snow in sight. Bottom line, anyone reading this likely has multiple road-warrior stories that he/she could share and which resulted in pain, anger and frustration.
That’s why I applaud Air New Zealand and Delta for their fun take on airline safety videos. Air New Zealand broke new ground with their hilarious Hobbit-themed safety video (complete with Gandalf in the cockpit and hobbit feet under the seats) and a follow up Old School version featuring Betty White and Gavin McCloud. But to me, Delta’s new 80’s themed video is a stroke of genius. The cameos by ALF and Kareem Abdul Jabbar totally resonate with today’s 40-something business traveler who remembers well the days of big hair and Whip It. More importantly, the videos make people sit up and actually take notice. I can’t remember the last time I paid attention to one of these, even when I am traveling with my children. But the 80’s icons would make me look up and listen. This video is a great example of how comedy, when used in the right way, can enhance even a serious message, engage audiences and make a lasting impression.
Finally, during a time when air travel is suffering from a true reputational crisis, this attempt to lighten up an otherwise dreadful experience is a smart move. The use of humor has certainly changed my perception of Delta and brought back the notion of flying the friendly skies (even if that particular tagline belonged to United, which is anything but). For my next trip I’ll certainly put Delta at the top of my list. Way to Whip It!