Finding inspiration for better presentations (in the light of Keynote 6): Virgin America’s cabin safety video

In a previous blog entry, I used the comments section in reply to a reader, suggesting he follow my lead and look to TV current affairs programs to seek inspiration, especially in the face of the denuding of Keynote’s feature set.

The invitation was really about looking far and wide for inspiration for persuasive message delivery, especially in the face of so many other distractions competing for your audience’s attention.

No one knows this better than commercial airlines. Remember all those videos as the flight is taxiing which ask you to pull down firmly to get the flow of oxygen going into your mask in the case of the loss of cabin pressure?

ASIDE: (This very infrequent event concerns commercial pilots more than the loss of an engine inflight. It means getting down from cruise altitude – which might be 40,000 feet to one where passengers and crews can breathe without assistance – about 16,000 feet: uncomfortable, but doable.

This is because those masks are attached to a collection of spherical cylinders distributed throughout the aircraft cabin which each contain about three minutes worth of oxygen. Which means a rapid descent about three times faster than the usual. Expect busted ear drums and much discomfort and panic in passengers.)

So when they say “pull down firmly” on the yellow masks which drop down from the ceiling, they mean give it a firm yank which breaks a seal which starts the oxygen flow. If you just pull it down gently, and stick it over your nose, nothing will happen. In this case, the placebo effect will only get you so far! In a recent Qantas incident, this is what  happened with many passengers complaining after landing that their oxygen masks didn’t operate. It’s more that they were oblivious to the cabin safety message denoting “firmly”. You’ve been notified!

In the video below, from Virgin America, its creators have decided to challenge the usual complacency of passengers, and make an attention-grabbing safety video. Perhaps even the flight attendants in the plane will be dancing along, although I’m guessing they will be instructed not to. Now, pay close attention to how the video designers included text in the cabin safety video. Not just is it included Karaoke-style but its animation also captures the word meanings and keeps you engaged.

It’s actually a great excuse to include it on my blog, a really fun and inspiring video in one of the most conservative domains – commercial aviation. I think only Air New Zealand comes close.

Air New Zealand’s recent in-flight safety briefing videos:

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