Whip it good

Today’s post is by Peppercommer Jackie Kolek.

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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!

8 thoughts on “Whip it good

  1. Thanks for sharing Stan. At Peppercomm we definitely subscribe to a philosophy of taking our clients seriously and our business seriously, but not ourselves.

  2. Air New Zealand went the extra step by hiring no less than Peter Jackson to do it. One of the US airlines would be smart to get the Zucker brothers of “Airplane” fame and reunite what’s left of that cast — RIP Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges and the under-rated Robert Stack.

  3. Why do you say Robert Stack was underrated, Peter? If any cast member of Airplane was underrated, it was Barbara Billingsley, and her Jive talk translation. I thought she stole the movie in that single scene.

  4. Stack wasn’t under-rated in “Airplane” by satirizing his image with lines like, “I was never happy as a child…” or rambling on about loneliness and municipal bonds.

    In his overall career though, people remember that voice for stoic men-of-few-words roles like Eliot Ness in “The Untouchables,” “The Name of the Game,” or something cheesy like “Unsolved Mysteries.”

    Stack did terrific work in the Fifties that isn’t as well-known, like the drunk in Douglas Sirk’s “Written on the Wind” or John Wayne’s jittery co-pilot in “The High and the Mighty” — ironically one of the very same air disaster films that “Airplane” satirized: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnrTq9Y-uJY

    • I never thought about him much until I watched a few movies recently and said “this guy was pretty good.” Oh, and I did meet him on a plane once and he was very nice.

      As for EPB, several years of therapy have erased the worst of those memories. It’s only your sharp reminders that make them return, but I can handle it now.

  5. Billingsley is still great. I understand she told Ward that she’s quite worried about the Bieber.