Once rights are secured and talent has signed on, production begins. To keep up with different audiences and platforms, each one entails a suite of nearly 30 different pieces: different segments for different aircraft, a YouTube teaser, cuts for Instagram and Snapchat, Asian cuts for WeChat, on and on. The in-flight video is shipped to the Air New Zealand fleet about six weeks before it goes live.
“It’s not about just the safety video anymore,” Williams says. “They’ve become entire marketing campaigns, with different audiences and markets, and you’re constantly looking for ways to evolve and engage.”
Safety videos as a source of national pride
In focus groups with New Zealanders, Williams says, they compliment the safety videos for showcasing the country’s personality and its overlooked destinations. And since Kiwis want the world to love New Zealand as much as they do, the videos also foster a sense of pride.
“We’re a small country competing on a world stage,” said Williams. “So the impact the videos have on the interest in the airline, and in the destinations, is significant. We’ll run special fares (in conjunction with a video launch) and we see that more people are being driven to our website to see what New Zealand has to offer.”
As for the copycats, Williams diplomatically says the airline is happy when it sees the Deltas and Virgins of the world elevating their own safety videos. Though she says no airlines ever reached out to Air New Zealand for suggestions, she knows where they got their inspiration.
“Look, the videos have gained a name for themselves,” she said. “But I’m sure someone (at those airlines) looked at and decided they wanted to give it a go. People know about our videos before they know about the airline, and we haven’t escaped the notice of big airlines. And if it means they’re giving the customer in the seat something that’s entertaining too, that’s a great thing.”