Air New Zealand Pulls New Safety Video Because Of How Bad It Is

Filed Under: Air New Zealand, Videos

Air New Zealand is hands down the most innovative airline when it comes to their safety videos. Some of my favorite safety videos have been from Air New Zealand, and they’ve typically introduced at least two new safety videos per year.

Most of these videos are pretty high budget, so I imagine it’s a significant investment for the airline. I like how varied they are, as some are humorous, some showcase beautiful landscape, and some are just plain creative.

In November I wrote about Air New Zealand’s newest safety video, which is actually a rap.

Air New Zealand said that this was the largest scale safety video they have ever produced, with a cast of about 600. The video stars Kiwi actor Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Deadpool2) and local musicians Kings, Theia, and Randa, and talent from 30 community groups across the country.

The video was filmed at various locations in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Balclutha, Hokitika, and Naseby in Central Otago. It also features a number of Air New Zealand employees, including cabin crew, pilots, engineers, loaders, and airline staff from Dunedin Airport.

Here’s the video:

Well, interestingly, for the first time ever, Air New Zealand is pulling a safety video early due to heavy criticism. Effective immediately they’ll instead be playing the “Summer of Safety” video, originally released in December 2016:

Of course Air New Zealand is putting a positive spin on this, and not saying that they’re pulling the previous video due to negative feedback, but rather that the “decision is based on a new campaign to stimulate domestic travel and promote tourism to Northland.”

This decision does follow widespread criticism of the video, including a recent NZ Herald article calling the video unbearably awful.

Was this my favorite Air New Zealand safety video? No. But personally I didn’t think it was that bad, assuming you can appreciate the cheesiness of it all. It reminded me a lot of the safety video that Virgin America used to have, for example.

And I’m sorry, but can anyone really say that this video was more annoying than the one starring Richard Simmons?

So yeah, the video was certainly a bit much, and it wasn’t my style, but was it that bad? I will say that I think my biggest issue with the video is that it’s quite distracting, to the point that I think some people may have a hard time following the actual safety instructions. But then again, I feel like that’s largely the case with videos nowadays.

What do you think — did Air New Zealand make the right decision in pulling the safety video?

  1. Now that I look at it, it is pretty crappy.. It’s very cheesy. Leave that to the Americans and their market!

  2. I’m a reasonably regular traveller, and I have a hard time identifying what I’m expected to learn/understand from the video and the language/music. Just imagine somebody who doesn’t have strong english skills, flying for the first time.

    Hard pass, good thing they took it down.

  3. So they took something that should last less than a minute (safety instructions) and turned it into a 4 and a half minute video?

    I think most people would have tuned it out right away (like they do with the safety instructions anyhow) and may not even recognized it as a safety video.

    If you’re a FF that would have been tough to listen to on a frequent basis.

  4. It’s not a bad video at all. It’s certainly well produced, but it’s a bit boring and uninspiring. It doesn’t hook the viewer in like some of the others – there seems more of a distance here between the viewer and the ad. But nothing especially to be ashamed of.

    I thought the Richard Simmons ad was excellent.

  5. That was one of the worst safety video ever. I don’t understand the airlines trying to outdo one another with their safety video. EVA Air has a really bad one as well but not as bad as Air NZ. ANA just launched a new safety video that is absolutely clear and to the point and very well done.

  6. @Daniel:

    I’ve said the same thing time and again. The airlines are constantly trying to out-cute each other with these silly song-and-dance numbers. They’re usually so ham-fisted and corny that I’m fraught with secondhand embarrassment for everyone involved and the actual safety message is lost in all the nonsensical bullshit “performances” that obscure important information. And that’s coming from a native English speaker. The cartoon version of the VX safety video was the best IMO; just quirky enough to capture your attention, but no gimmicky actors/celebrities or silly music and dancing to distract from the message.

  7. the only safety video i like is the Air france one. not the updated one with new music, but the original classic french one that you posted after your CDG- YYZ trip. Also, the Delta 1980s one was good.

  8. I quite liked it – but the main problem with it is that it’s mostly unintelligible. The most important attribute of a safety video is that it should be clear and unambiguous (especially for travelers for whom English is not their first language) – and this fails in that respect.

    @rich – If you think four and a half minutes for a safety video is too much, then you haven’t experienced British Airways current six minute long celeb-filled epics!

  9. Yes they did. I flew Air NZ on a couple of domestic legs last month and I found myself getting a headache from the video itself. It’s annoying enough to have to hear the thing on full blast volume, but rap music isn’t exactly the most relaxing way to begin a flight.

    Admittedly, even US carriers annoy me with their corny videos. Especially when they include Smisek style rah-rahing.

    Why do safety videos have to be so corny? Are people’s attention spans really so bad that they can’t just listen to a normal safety demo like we used to have in the 90s and early 2000s? Geez.

  10. Very distracting and long but it’s not that bad; it’s in line with a trend of airlines trying to add music and alternate surroundings to an otherwise mundane safety video. The point is to get people to watch it. I think the SQ one is a good example that’s neither distracting or tedious.

  11. @Lucky not many people have been on as many airlines as yourself, so chime in on your favourite safety video and have a poll for the readers!

  12. Rap professional here. This is a very poorly produced rap. They are constantly trying to fit in or skip syllables to match the words to the tune. Not pleased.

    I’m reminded of a little known NZ rapper called DJ Max Key. He is celebrated among his fans in NZ and Air NZ should have chosen him to write this rap.

  13. That was pretty bad and confusing at the same time, makes you wonder who thought it was a good idea in the first place.

    I liked the original AF one as well. Classy without being overdone… french.

  14. If I tried to rap a safety video, it would sound something like this.

    They should pull down the YouTube and try to make everyone believe that this never happened.

  15. Not only the video is terrible, it compromises the safety, because many people would just turn off and miss important safety announcements.

    I am not sure if safety demonstrations are regulated but such videos simply should not be allowed.

  16. I get to sit on NZ’s planes very often (like weekly) and this is their worst safety video. Everyone on the plane switches off, there is a collective groaning, and you can see the crew wince as it starts. This is a successful airline getting ahead of itself thinking it is too clever by half. It cost millions to produce (which I am sure they regret given their revenue projections for the year) , I am not sure if it is meant to be ironic, whether NZ is trying to get down with the kids with a 25 year old song or bring a smile to the nation. Its clumsy words and rhymes jarr, it embarrasses the crew – whoever commissioned this needs to re-evaluate their professional judgement.

  17. I see nothing “Kiwi” about that type of music. Reminds me of last week during the Australia Day celebrations where they had an Aboriginal band playing American Rap. Hardly connecting to traditional culture unless you argue that current Maori and Aboriginal culture follows American Rap!

    Video deserved to be taken down.

  18. This reminds me of Wendy’s “Cold Drinks” employee training video from the 90s. As well as scores of other terrible corporate attempts to be cool.

    God it was stupid the first time, do we really need to dredge it back up in the name of nostalgia?

  19. I think the very real issue of cabin safety has crossed the line with this one & I’m pleased that it has been pulled. Some marketing crowd (probably without any aviation connection/experience) was paid handsomely for this crap, a total waste of money for Air NZ which is already taking financial hits for various reasons. How the hell is an older person meant to understand this garbage- or even someone who is hearing/sight impaired? Try again Air NZ & drop the fake American accents…

  20. David s – I overwhelmingly hear Maoris and Aboriginals listening to rap music. It wouldn’t shock me at all to hear they were playing the music they wanted to play.

  21. I watched the Simmons first and yes the rap version is even worse and that is saying a lot. The airlines should keep it simple and having the flight attendants give the briefing actuals allows them to create a bit of rapport with the passengers.

  22. How about a safety video that takes itself seriously for once these days? That would be a breath of fresh air. No gimmicks, no nonsense, just a straight laced safety video with infographics that transcend language and cultural barriers. We need less wannabe film directors and more communication designers creating safety videos. They’re not meant to be some kind of ‘in’ joke. The current crop of videos are the equivalent of sticking disco lights on highway signs, attention grabbing for sure but completely obfuscating the intention.

    Surely aviation regulators are going to have to weigh in at some point, it will only take one court case “Your honour I never remembered where the exits were because I was so enthralled in the song and dance routine during the safety briefing”. We expect sterile cockpits during key flight phases, how about a sterile safety briefing for passengers.

  23. There is so much going on at once. It’s so distracting. How would you even know this was a safety video?
    @Anton – I Agree. The safety factory is lost if no one learns anything and/or turns it off immediately.


  24. The video is just hard to follow for people not into that style of communication, or with limited English skills. I love creative safety videos in principle because they get people watching who would otherwise tune out (a lot of people in these days of everyone having a handheld device to stare into), and I’ve seen some really good Air New Zealand ones, some I’ve even rewatched at home on YouTube. Keep up the creativity but focus on ways to creatively keep attention to the safety message.

  25. I think these videos are a waste of money. However, I suspect that airline executives enjoy discussing them and it is cool to hire celebrity actors to star in them.

    However, no one flies on an airline because of the safety video.

    They increasingly all try to virtue signal too.

    EasyJet have the right approach; an old fashioned and fast manual safety demo by the crew with a simple audio in the background.

    The BA video was fun when I first saw it but is now super tedious for me. It is also very long. You also lose the real safety messages amidst all the humour. I try to avoid BA as much as I can and the video is just another reason to do so.

  26. If i am forced to watch a safety video, I want it to be as short, simple and painless as possible (considering that most people are not flying for the first time nowadays).

    That being said, if their aim is to grab the attention of kids, why bother with this ‘music video’ that is definitely going to miss the point?

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *