View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Friday, July 17, 2009

Can Emirates Airline Give a Safety Spiel Like this Rap Artist from South West?

Airlines like Emirates and Etihad want to maintain high safety standards but they fall into the same rut as most other airlines—the mandatory safety announcement becomes so boring!

Yes, it is true that we fly on different types of planes which do not have the same seating formations but look around the cabin and note that people have already switched off from safety matters and are reading their in-flight magazine or planning their diet of entertainment.

Virgin Travel
When I took my virgin flight with Virgin I was impressed with the way they made themselves distinctive in many ways. Their safety spiel was funny. They even raised a laugh when they said that if anyone wanted to smoke they’d have to step outside for a few minutes.

Once in flight with the safety belt sign switched off the stewards called the children to the front of the cabin and painted their faces like a lion, which is the football mascot of the city to which they were flying. You can guarantee that when the family was planning their next holiday the kids would get their parents to travel with Virgin.

The Old, Old Story
Teachers, priests, politicians and entertainers often have to serve up information that they have given before and on most occasions they say things that their hearers have heard before. The key thing is to be able to communicate important messages in ways that are fresh and captivating.

South West Has Passengers Rapped
It is fascinating to see the way that South West Airlines are seeking to do things differently. The following YouTube video shows a flight attendant who had worked on five flights earlier that day and he is so bored with the normal safety spiel that he is doing a rap version. It is too good to be spontaneous but it appears that way as he gets the attention of most of the passengers. Hopefully they absorbed the information and were not simply enchanted by the entertainment.

Emirates Version?
Rap might be culturally appropriate on a South West airline flying through the United States but I wonder what Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai and Air Arabia might come up with to do things differently and in ways that are expressive of the Emirati culture?

Marketing guru Seth Godin shares the principle of the purple cow to get this point across: If you are travelling in your car and you see field after field of black, white and brown cows, this is not unusual. But if you spot a purple cow, you stop the car, get out and take photos. Upon your return you tell everyone what you saw.

How does your business, school or organization offer a service that is remarkable?

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “Look around the cabin and note that people have already switched off.”