It occurred to me that I’ve never explicitly written a post about what might just simultaneously be the greatest and worst marketing video the airline industry has ever seen.
The Southwest Airlines shuffle…
Southwest Airlines has always been known for being different than other airlines, and for having a culture of fun. I don’t think anything sums that up more accurately than a video that the airline created in 1986, known as the Southwest Airlines “Just Plane Fun” Shuffle.
The nearly 10-minute video features employees from just about all departments singing and dancing, explaining the roles they perform. It even features former Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher, who is an airline industry legend.
For a long time, this video was shown to new Southwest Airlines employees during training, to give them a sense of what the company’s culture was like. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but it really should be.
If you haven’t yet seen the Southwest Shuffle, you need to. It’s simultaneously impressively well done, amusing, and cringeworthy, and odds are that the lyrics will be stuck in your head for at least the rest of the day.
I can’t even guess how many times I’ve seen this video over the years. Not only do the lyrics never get old, but I love deciding which department is the most amusingly awkward in the video, because I have a different conclusion every time. Based on my viewing today, I’m going with the systems team. Meanwhile revenue management and the pilots have some swagger… who knew?!
This concept was inspired by the Chicago Bears
While Southwest Airlines did an amazing job with this video, it’s worth noting that this concept was based on the Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle in 1985. To say that Southwest one-upped them would be an understatement, though.
In 1996 the Southwest Airlines Shuffle was produced, and to me it simply never gets old. Not only is it a good representation of how Southwest is more fun than other airlines, but it’s also just downright catchy. Heck, this might even be even catchier than that Carnival Cruise Line ad from the 1990s, or Emirates’ recent “I Want To Fly The World” song, or even Turkish Airlines’ hold music.
Anyone else love the Southwest Shuffle? Which department is your favorite?