Published on: October 21, 2014by Michael Sansolo
Breaking boredom isn’t easy. Getting any of us to stop in our tracks and actually pay attention to something is an achievement these days, so when it is done well it should be studied, celebrated, considered and copied.
And while I cannot believe this, Delta Airlines has managed to do exactly that.
I fly a lot and mostly on United Airlines. I consider myself lucky that my travels are wonderfully uneventful because I generally watch the safety demonstration with as little focus as I can possibly muster. My hope is that somehow my brain has absorbed the details on how to use my oxygen mask or inflatable whatever.
Truth be told, I’m not really sure because I usually fall asleep.
Yet Delta actually got me to watch. If you regularly fly Delta, you know why. Delta turned the traditional safety video on its ear with humor and slapstick that actually had me actually wanting more.
Now, rest easy FAA inspectors: The video delivers exactly what it is supposed to do. The video stars the usual smiling flight attendant who takes us through the regular message with that incredibly practiced and calm voice. But the star of the video is everything happening around her.
When she tells us to put luggage in the overhead we see a pizza with no box getting placed in instead. The inane reminder on how to use a seat belt is highlighted by the vision of a gigantic man who suddenly has incredibly dainty hands and dazzling red nail polish. When we’re told to put away certain electronics we see a woman put down her electronic mixer and continue mixing batter with a spoon. And a man with an abacus gets to merrily keep working because it isn’t electronic.
I actually chuckled out loud when she reminded passengers to ask questions and we see an old-fashioned press corps jump out of their seats.
Here’s the thing: I paid attention. And on my return flight one day later I found myself actually waiting for the video to watch the sight gags and see what I might have missed. Let me repeat that: I couldn’t wait to see the safety video.
Now it’s possible that I might tire of the video if I flew Delta weekly, but I might also be paying attention in hopes that a new version has been released. What’s more, if I were flying with a colleague or family member I’m certain I would tell them to watch the video. That’s something I’ve never, ever done before.
In fact, I'm even including one version of the video, which you can watch below. Extra points to anyone who gets the Star Trek joke, which we on MNB always appreciate.
It is simple. Delta found a way to turn the most mundane few minutes in travel into something special. No one cares that they made the video longer. Rather, they made it compelling.
Every business and every experience include some routines that over time become background noise. We may not sleep through it like I usually do during the safety video, but we might as well. And by never trying to make the routine special, we surrender to boredom and apathy.
As Delta shows - and as Southwest demonstrated for years before - that’s unacceptable. If an airline safety video can be made compelling, sure the same can be done inside your store or your business. Certainly there are ways you can recognize the mundane and find ways to attack it head on and in the process deliver the required message better than ever.
Remember, you have nothing to lose except bored customers.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here.
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