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SIA’s new in-flight safety video takes viewers on a journey beyond aircraft cabin

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched its new in-flight safety video, taking viewers on a panoramic journey across various locations in Singapore, beyond the traditional space of an aircraft cabin. It is the result of a bilateral agreement between SIA and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) which was signed earlier this year. TBWA Singapore was involved in the production of the video.

Under the partnership, SIA and STB aim to jointly invest a combined amount of SG$10 million over a period of three years, to collaborate on marketing activities and event promotion campaigns. SIA and STB will also work on technology initiatives which will facilitate ease of travel and boost the delivery of right experiences to consumers.

The film showcases the Singapore Girl travelling to familiar landmarks in Singapore such as Boat Quay, The Intan Peranakan Home Museum, Henderson Waves and Gardens by the Bay. At each location, she meets various characters engaged in different activities that “creatively demonstrate” the safety instructions. The new safety video will be screened on SIA flights from the end of the year.

In a statement to Marketing, SIA’s spokesperson said an important selection criteria was whether these places were able to fit into the storyboard of the safety video and appropriately bring across the intended safety messages. The spokesperson added that SIA is pleased with the feedback it has received and declined to comment on the initiatives of other airlines.

“Our new safety video provides a more captivating way of effectively presenting safety information to our customers as compared to the more conventional approach that we have taken up to now. At the same time, it proudly showcases many familiar spots in our home base of Singapore to a global audience,” Campbell Wilson, Singapore Airlines senior VP sales and marketing, said.

“We are delighted that SIA’s new safety video offers a warm and refreshing take in conveying safety information by weaving in Singapore’s vibrant cultures, attractions and sights. Through this video, which also celebrates the places and people it features, millions of travellers on board will get to acquaint themselves with the alluring possibilities that the city offers, while noting the latest in safety information,” Lynette Pang, assistant chief executive, STB, said.

“It is like taking our customers on a walk through Singapore. The locations featured in the video help show Singapore as a modern cosmopolitan city with unique culture and heritage, and I am honoured to be part of this wonderful journey,” Elizabeth Quek, a member of SIA’s cabin crew chosen to represent the Singapore Girl in the new safety video, said.

Many netizens enjoyed and praised the new video, which is now gaining traction online, for being fresh and different. The video garnered 17,000 reactions, 7,830 shares and 1,0006 comments on Facebook at the time of writing. However, several creatives Marketing spoke to likened the video to Qantas’ and Qatar’s. We asked some creative agency leads what they thought of it.

Fiona Bartholomeusz, managing director of Formul8, said while the production values and art direction are beautiful and in line with the company’s oft-used Singapore Girl image, it lacks aspects such as personality and wit that other airlines such as Qantas, Air New Zealand and British Airways have included in their safety videos.

“Qantas, Emirates Airline, British Airways and Air New Zealand have set the benchmark for really engaging safety videos that not only show the best of their countries but also how the people have their own particular charms. Singapore Airlines, at this point, is coming up with a new safety video which is long overdue but better late than never I guess,” Bartholomeusz said.

She added:

Once someone has upped their game, you need to do something different and relevant to what makes us uniquely Singapore. The video looks like a follow up from the Qantas safety video, albeit a slicker version.

According to her, the new safety video is just “an extension of a typical SQ TV commercial with the Singapore Girl flitting around looking frankly, rather characterless”. Rather than harping on its glory days of the 70/80s where the Singapore Girl image set the tone for the brand, Bartholomeusz said SIA should keep up with the times and stay relevant in the face of increasing competition in product and service innovation.

As Singapore has a reputation among foreigners for being sterile and “unable to laugh at itself”, she added that SIA could have seized the opportunity to show that the country has creativity, personality and wit. It’s really a missed opportunity, beyond showcasing our tourist icons but also the people that make up Singapore and our own way of looking at things.

Bartholomeusz also cited Gov.sg’s Chinese New Year Kungfu ad, which warns viewers of the dangers of over indulging during the holiday season, as an example of how it was a humorous yet relevant way to warn consumers about diabetes.

“It’s the most unexpected spot and I thought it was brilliant interpreted and hilariously kitschy. If a government entity can be more “with the times” and capture local sentiments and do so with style, why can’t an international brand like Singapore Airlines show that there is more to the Singapore Girl than just her aimlessly floating around from pitstop to pitstop? This is 2017, women in Singapore are so much more than this antiquated image.” Bartholomeusz added.

Echoing Bartholomeusz’s sentiments is Ng Khee Jin, founder and creative director of Wild Advertising and Marketing, who agreed that SIA’s new safety video “lacks a degree of authenticity” as it tried to fit in as many tourist attractions as possible to make it exotic. On the other hand, Ng said tourists might appreciate the video and find the sights and sounds unique. He added that humour would be a good aspect to include in safety videos to capture the attention of passengers, since it is one segment they rarely pay attention to.

Meanwhile, Timothy Chan, creative director at GOVT Singapore, said the new safety video was “a great joy to watch” and that it captured the essence of Singapore Airlines, using the Singapore Girl and the country at the forefront.

“I can imagine if a Singaporean watches it, there will be a sense of pride. If a foreigner watches it, I would say it puts the brand and the country in a good light,” Chan said.

“I don’t think something at this scale or budget would have been created without a large amount of trust and a great relationship between the agency and client,” he added.

With regards to SIA’s new film showing similarities to other safety videos, he added that if companies are going to do a safety video creatively, there are bound to be some similarities to what has been done.

It’s kind of a brand hazard for people to criticise things. It’s a great piece of work. Let’s not be too cynical or overly critical.

 
Janice Tan
Journalist
Marketing Magazine Singapore
A Millennial who enjoys binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, Janice Tan loves engaging in conversations about history, culture, politics and sports. She also delights in learning new languages, reading and travelling. Easily tickled, she is always on the lookout for witty campaigns, especially those that leverage on pop culture trends.

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