In-flight safety videos: How owned assets build brands

Air New Zealand this week released their new in-flight safety video titled Aotearoa, the 8th Wonder of the World – to help support the domestic tourism industry.



It is their latest quirky video attempting to use a traditionally boring owned asset – the safety video – as a marketing channel.

Making the in-flight safety video more entertaining isn’t a new phenomenon. Virgin America is largely credited for starting the trend in 2007 by mocking various people you will run into on a flight.



These examples have been used on countless occasions across other categories and brands to provide inspiration for how owned assets or branded content could become more entertaining. How traditionally informative touch points could be converted into a creative platform.

Seriously though, insurance product disclosure statements could really do with some help – right?



Making this information more entertaining or “engaging” does make sense. Injecting a brands personality, tone and identity into as many customer touch points as possible is the most effective way of building a true brand image in the current landscape of fragmented media and advertising interest.

In both in-flight videos, and general advertising, it has also been proven that delivering a message in a more entertaining way does result in keeping attention. A data point most agencies and clients would consider a KPI given the difficulty in capturing and maintaining attention – #attentioneconomy, right?


However, what impact does this have on message recall?

A UNSW study conducted in 2015 investigated whether the use of humour or movie-themed sets in pre-flight safety briefing adversely affected retention of information.

Guess what, it did. While the videos did increase participants’ mood, their recall of safety information was almost 20% lower (35% vs 53%) than that of those who watched a standard safety video.


So, what does this all mean?

Measuring the success of in-flight videos on recall alone isn’t right. After all, commercial flying is incredibly safe and the majority of people understand the safety requirements that exist.

Brands have their own customer touch points and assets that remain factual and informative, lacking any personality or creativity. And, the success of in-flight safety videos suggest these assets or experiences can become more entertaining.

These owned assets remain untapped potential for brands to build and create a brand image and personality in the market.

Creative agencies – at the direction of marketing teams – continue to prioritise the creation of campaigns, ideas and executions for paid media.


But, could the solution to brand building actually be in maximising the image of brands through their owned assets?

It’s sad to even suggest this, but could the Big TV Ad #RIP? I hope not, but I think so.



The greatest potential for brands now exists in being true to who they are and what they believe in. And, it needs to be peppered through every touch point they have with people.

One big gesture or paying to influence perception just won’t work.

In-flight safety videos are a fantastic marketing channel for aviation brands to communicate who they are. It’s time for other categories and brands to find their voice and personality across their owned touch points by extending their creativity beyond traditional paid media.