Several airlines have recently debuted new, creative in-flight videos. But none have gone quite as viral as Virgin America’s “Virgin America Safety Video #VXsafetydance,” which has racked up more than 9 million views on YouTube since its release last fall. The video is a five-minute dance routine in an airplane hangar with lyrics that explain all the essential airline safety habits for fliers.
“We were a little nervous when we launched it because people loved the old video so much,” said Abby Lunardini, the vp of marketing and communications at Virgin America. But the original ground-breaking animated safety video had begun to feel a little stale. “Six years after we had done the first one, we wanted to come up with something entirely different and fresh.”
The idea for a new dance-themed safety demo originated with Virgin America’s small marketing team — social media manager Jill Fletcher, Lunardini, an assistant, and its creative director, Jesse McMillin. For the video, Virgin America worked with another arm of the Virgin empire, Virgin Produced, with a budget, according to Lunardini, one-twentieth the size of its competitors, to create the five-minute clip.
But, for the team, the real challenge quickly centered around how to keep engagement going around a one-off video. The solution: a call for submissions from fans.
“When we were formulating the social media piece of the new video, we wanted to include people within the actual safety video,” said Lunardini. “We did a digital and social campaign around the video and are going to do a next version. People are submitting their dance auditions through social to us, and they’re hilarious.”
Once the videos were submitted, judges, like the video’s director John M. Chu, and “Footloose” choreographer Jamal Sims, went through the user submissions and selected a winner, who will be a dancer on future versions of the safety video. The entire campaign received 7,000 tweets to the hashtag #vxsafetydance, and 364 contest entries through Instagram, according to Webstagram.
For the airline, driving social interaction with a small budget is key. Another ongoing social initiative led by the airline, #vxexperience, encourages travelers to share how their Virgin America flight went across social platforms.
“A lot of airlines probably wouldn’t want people to post their airline experiences online,” said Lunardini. “We were surprised how much feedback we get.” Virgin also has an interactive website to tout in-flight features and display Twitter and Instagram shout-outs from passengers’ experiences via the #vxexperience hashtag.
On social, the brand has more than 507,000 Twitter followers, 521,000 likes on Facebook, and more than 33,000 on Instagram. (By comparison, Delta Airlines has 632,000 followers on Twitter, and American has 763,000.)
“Because we have a smaller budget and being a little scrappier and doing something differently to drive awareness,” said Lunardini. (Virgin reported a third quarter net income of $33.5 million in November 2013. By contrast, competitor American Airlines reported a profit of $530 million.)
“The safety video obviously had a life of its own online,” added Lunardini. “So how does the brand extend beyond the cabin beyond?'” One dance move at a time, apparently.
Is the collapse of big tech’s culture overblown? Some experts think so
Some workplace experts aren’t so sure that the cushy culture that has come to define tech is coming to an end anytime soon.
‘Fear of saying the wrong thing is eating us alive’: Confessions of an Iranian-American advertiser on the industry’s silence on Iranian women’s rights
As Iran's feminist movement builds, one Iranian-American advertising executive questions American advertiser's silence.
Brands need to account for ‘psychological pain’ shoppers feel this holiday season, Horizon Media says
Although it seems every marketer is pulling out all the stops to get consumers to buy their stuff, there remains a good amount of uncertainty among the general population about how much they want to or plan to spend.
SponsoredWhy cookie deprecation is deflating performance and inflating costs for advertisers
With the full deprecation of third-party cookies on the horizon, advertisers and publishers are navigating a challenging and quickly evolving landscape. The sunset of the third-party cookie continues as usage and lifetimes fall. Their deprecation is preventing brands from effectively measuring the effectiveness of media campaigns in real-time at highly granular levels. As the industry […]
Why American Express invests in TikTok ahead of Small Business Saturday
As the #ShopSmall community grows on TikTok, American Express is hoping to tap into it.
How a Minecraft influencer is bringing advertisers to the platform
TubNet's primary challenge in integrating its brand partners was to do so without breaking the end user license agreement (EULA) of Minecraft developer Mojang, whose strict guidelines restrict the presence of brand logos directly inside the game.