Communicating Risk: “Safety Dance” Makes People Watch

Virgin America Safety Dance

We’ve all been there. The aisles of the plane are busy as you try to get to your seat while carrying your bag, your phone, your boarding card and all manner of other stuff. With so much going on, to do and to remember, it’s no wonder people often ignore the safety announcement. When did you really last LISTEN to it?

Thankfully, very few of us will ever have to use those words of instruction in real life. But airlines can’t take the risk that the one time they don’t tell you, something happens and they become liable. So how does an airline keep you interested in something that you’ve probably heard tens, if not, hundreds of times before?

How Virgin America Made it Interesting

Well Virgin America have thought long and hard about that problem and their marketing department have come up with an ingenious way to keep passenger engagement high while minimising the risk of passengers not taking on board the pre-flight instructions. And all the while, they are staying true to their brand values of irreverence and fun.

They’ve launched a new passenger safety video that takes all the stuff they want you to know and literally makes a song and dance about it.

Now doing something like that is risky—passengers could think it’s a gimmick and pay less attention than normal or they could turn away from Virgin as they could be seen to be making fun of the serious issue of passenger safety.

But with the power of the Virgin brand, they are banking on us passengers getting into the spirit and watching along. And it’s a win-win.

The passengers love it—check out the YouTube comments for yourself. And it gives Virgin comfort that passengers are taking on board the information while allowing their staff to spend more time doing pre-flight checks. And that’s when the innovative use of marketing can help a business to engage with customers as well as minimise the risks that company faces.


Guest blogger Liam McGrory is Marketing Director, Willis Limited, a chartered marketer and member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, with extensive experience of key marketing disciplines. Based in Willis’ London office, he has been with the company since


About Liam McGrory

Liam is marketing director within our Willis Global business.  He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Market…
Categories: Aerospace, Claim & Risk Control | Tags: , ,

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