Erin Hogg

Content Marketing: Lord of the airline safety videos

November 4th, 2014

Since when did airline safety videos become so darn viral?

What used to be a dry and boring legal formality has now become a way to engage audiences outside of the plane cabin.

As a huge fan of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movie franchises, my inner nerd did backflips when I watched Air New Zealand’s newest airline safety video:


For those not so familiar with the world of J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson, New Zealand was the filming location for all three “Lord of the Rings” films as well as the more recent “Hobbit” movies.

Featuring actors and characters from the movies, as well as flight attendants dressed as elves and an appearance from director Peter Jackson, Air New Zealand really outdid themselves. (However, I would have liked to see a little more Gollum in the video.)

This isn’t the first time the airline has capitalized on the “Hobbit” hype for its in-flight safety videos. In 2012, they used the theme in coordination with the first “Hobbit” film in the series.

Delta VideoHowever, Air New Zealand is not alone in taking safety videos to the next level.

Delta has produced some pretty entertaining safety videos as well, notably this 80s-inspired throwback featuring big hair, crazy clothes and of course some iconic characters from the time.


Storytelling in the strangest places

These safety videos, while still used for the in-flight safety precautions, were undoubtedly created to become viral online.

What was once an untapped resource has become a way to kill two birds with one stone: comply with FAA regulations and entertain viewers.

But even more than that, these videos are great content marketing. For Air New Zealand, the company is gaining more brand awareness from these videos because, let’s face it, most people will probably never make the 24-hour trek to the island.

However, by embracing its ties to the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and getting creative, it’s found a way to reach audiences who may have never heard of the airline company before.

For larger airlines like Delta, I would argue that having more entertaining safety videos is a way to spice up what used to be mundane travel for 165 million travelers each year.

As a popular network, these videos add more personality to the brand.

For me personally, I saw one of Delta’s comedic videos on a trip I took, and that video was the first thing I told my family about when I landed was that video. Even on the flight, people were chuckling and talking about the video, even if they had seen a similar one on a previous trip.

Taking content marketing to new heights

These engaging in-flight safety videos can serve as inspiration for your next content marketing campaign.

How creative can you get when it comes to fostering engagement and excitement around your brand?

For example, Bonvoy Adventure Travel staged a take-over of a food truck in New York City and offered a name-your-own-price day for lunch-goers.

While customers waited in line, the team handed out cards with the Bonvoy website, and the one-day event grew organically via pictures and posts on social media.

Through this effort, the brand was able to achieve a 775% increase in direct-site traffic, as well as making 34,000 Twitter impressions.

Bonvoy Adventure Travel


The B2B sphere is not immune to creative content marketing efforts, either. SunGard took a zombie apocalypse approach to market its disaster recovery IT products and services.

Through themed emails and direct mail pieces sent to C-suite targeted executives, the company’s campaign received more than 2,000 social media shares.



In a nutshell, great content marketing relies on telling your brand’s story.

What’s a great content marketing campaign you’ve seen recently or one that your company has created? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.


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