Workplace Communicator Blog

Are Air New Zealand Safety Videos Magical?

Posted by Marie-Claire Ross on Mon, Nov 3, 2014
Well, it's only been a little over six months and Air New Zealand has decided it's time to change their onboard safety video. 

I wasn't a fan of the last one (Safety in Paradise - Can Air New Zealand make Safety Sexy?), but I love the new The Most Epic Safety Video Ever.  It's a cross promotion of both The Hobbit and New Zealand tourism that seamlessly merges together with safety.  It follows on from the safety training video that was made two years ago (An Unexpected Briefing) that was also inspired by The Hobbit movie (which is actually my favourite out of all of them).

The movie starts with two real-life Hobbit Fans rushing to board their plane and then freaking out once boarded, when they realise they are sitting near The Hobbit actor Elijah Wood.  They then start watching the onboard flight video and are quickly transposed to the The Hobbit set that really features the beauty of New Zealand.

We are then guided through the safety process by an Air New Zealand flight attendant in complete Hobbit style apparel including pointy ears and using Hobbit language ("cease your rabble-rousing").  It turns the whole concept of a training video on it's head being more movie trailer interspersed with safety information.


To test the efficacy of the safety video, I thought it best to assess it based on our 4 Step Safety Communication Blueprint.  This has been designed to work with how the brain processes information to make decisions, in order to change behaviours.  Let's see how the new onflight video measures up.


AURA communication blueprint

  1. Attention - Getting people's attention is like a spark plug that ignites fuel to start an engine. It starts the motor of the brain and it's the first step in changing behaviour.  This video is definitely attention-grabbing.  It uses an array of focusing techniques such as using humour, the power of surprise and clever flight safety analogies to The Hobbit world (my favourite being a bag of gold being stored under the seat). While it also uses a complex assortment of eye-popping visuals from highlighting the beautiful New Zealand scenery that is the backdrop for The Hobbit set, famous actor appearances and hundreds of performers in eye-catching costumes.   10 out of 10.
  2. Understand - In terms of getting viewers to understand the message, the language is very simple and easy to understand.  Clear analogies are made.  I do like showing flying on a bird and how to do the brace position.  Most of the time, viewers are explained the purpose as to why the safety process is required.  For example, "no smoking is allowed because it's dangerous. " Unfortunately, many companies omit this important explanation which results in a poor compliance rate.  All processes are clearly shown, so there is no doubt how to use the safety belt or use a life jacket.  9 out of 10 (1 point deduction for omitting the purpose for every process).
  3. Remember - Next, we look at what techniques they have used to put safety information top of mind.  The high impact visuals works at making  information easy to recall and understand which are one of the keys to getting information into memory.  What I like to say is "fuzzy in, fuzzy out."  If things are unclear, you won't be able to get people to remember correctly.  In this safety video, it's all very clear.  The repetition of messages is also important, so combined with a demonstration and hand-out, it has been repeated 3 times for suitable efficacy. 9 out of 10.
  4. Action - Every communication we make is to elicit action of some type.  Yet, we often forget this and don't clearly ask for what action we desire.  I was recently speaking to a company with 6000 staff and while they managed to get attention on a recent safety campaign, they failed to encourage any action.  This is a total failure.  What's the point of communicating if people aren't listening and being influenced to change their behaviour?   In this safety training video, there are a range of actions that those watching are encouraged to make including a clear call to action at the end to summmarise the whole point of the safety processes (by Director Peter Jackson).  9 out of 10.

Overall, this is a pleasing result of 47 out of 50.  I'm not a fan of The Hobbit Franchise and I've never been able to watch the whole movie.  Despite this, I did appreciate the safety video, even to the point of looking at flights on Air New Zealand for my next business trip (and I think I just felt a smile on the marketing manager's face at Air New Zealand).

Of course, not everyone has the marketing and training budget to create a 4.5 minute training video that is equal to the GDP of a small country, but it's nice to know that a safety training video can be used to also effectively brand a company.

Well done, Air New Zealand!

If you want to test your safety communication skills, have a go at our safety communication assessment.  And if you want to learn more about the 4 Step AURA Communication Blueprint to enable all of you safety managers to learn a standardised system to improve their communication, check out the Fast Track your Safety Communication Results Workshop (early bird pricing available).


New Call-to-action

Topics: flight safety video, Air New Zealand safety video, onboard safety video