JAL’s new safety video puts the focus firmly on safety

This article comes from the September issue of Airline Marketing Monthly. You can access the magazine here.

Airline safety videos that also work as marketing films have of course been a thing for well over ten years now.  

That’s ever since Air New Zealand realised that some creative thinking could be put behind these videos, that they could be uploaded online and that they’d often receive millions of views (plus positive PR).

On our blog you’ll find plenty of articles going back through the years praising Air New Zealand for its different safety videos.

For example in 2012, SimpliFlying founder Shashank Nigam lauded the airline for its Hobbit / Lord of the Rings themed video, which went viral in a matter of hours after its release.  

The following year Shashank then wrote about how marketing-led safety videos had come of age, with everyone from (at the time) Virgin America to Delta getting involved in producing them.

Recently however some commentators have started to question whether this trend has gone too far and whether (as we said on our blog last year), they are starting to look too much like music videos, and not enough like safety videos.

One airline which has gone back to focusing squarely on the safety aspect is Japan Airlines.  The airline’s latest safety video not only dispenses with marketing gimmicks, it actually pin points specific ways in which passengers not following safety procedures can cause extra danger.

According to JAL, the video was put together with the advice of the company’s Safety Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Kunio Yanagida.  It draws on actual incidents that have recently taken place across the airline industry. 

For example, one scenario in the video focuses on personal belongings needing to be stored in the right location, otherwise they may injure other passengers during a sudden stop.

Another focuses on the emergency evacuation within the cabin.  JAL says that:

“In recent years, there have been reports in the aviation industry in which passengers have been seen carrying their personal luggage during an evacuation. Therefore, the safety video describes a situation in which a passenger attempting to carry their luggage blocks the passageway and prevents others from proceeding to the exit in a timely manner.

“In addition, the next scene highlights how luggage or high-heeled shoes could damage the escape slide, making it difficult to evacuate the aircraft and possibly threaten the lives of other passengers.”

The problem of passengers’ trying to take their bags with them in an evacuation had devastating consequences during last year’s Aeroflot Superjet 100 crash in Moscow.  

Over 40 passengers died, with aviation experts questioning whether that death toll could have been reduced had passengers obeyed instructions and left their belongings on board.  

Though the video isn’t marketing themed, JAL’s approach has actually resulted in the airline generating positive PR coverage on the back of it.

For example, the Points Guy blog talks about “a bold but welcome move”, while Paddle Your Canoe says that “safety advocates will no doubt approve of JAL’s serious approach.”


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