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ATW Editor's Blog

Korean goes K-pop in its safety video

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Korean Air has just released details of its new safety video and it is certainly different; it’s a music video featuring K-pop band SuperM, which created a song for this purpose.

SuperM, a new group comprising famous K-pop artists, is touring the US and already has a number 1 billboard hit—so you can see how Korean Air hopes to catch the attention of young Koreans and also reach a global audience.

The video touches on all the required safety points—seatbelts, oxygen masks, exits, life vests, no smoking, use and care of electronic items—but is a complete style contrast compared with Korean’s long-standing and traditional safety video featuring crew and passengers.

As Korean points out, some other airlines famously use humor to lighten up their safety videos and to grab passenger attention—especially first-time flyers. British Airways partnered with Comic Relief and its video features several well-known British actors and comediennes in a skit format; Air New Zealand has Lord of the Rings’ Hobbits and wizards as well as a talking duck and regular appearances by the All Blacks rugby team. But the Korean video is in a different vein—it really is a music video and a very upbeat, pop one at that.

“Safety does not have to be boring,” Korean says, adding that it intends to “actively contribute to the spread of K-pop and Korean pop culture around the world.”

This is Korean’s 50th anniversary year and the airline seems focused on how to adapt to changing passenger expectations and lifestyles. South Korea is a highly technology-focused country and Seoul is a massive, ultra-trendy city. There has been a huge growth in low cost carriers in the region and those LCCs pitch ultra-low fares with no-nonsense, bright and breezy service. The traditional flag carriers must compete on both cost and the type of service a new generation of flyers want. Can Korean’s K-pop safety video help bridge the gap between new and traditional passengers?

One personal note—there’s really a video within a video here. At one point, the action turns away from SuperM to a room of little kids and cartoons, who do the safety vest demonstration. It’s by far the cutest life vest demo I’ve ever seen and those life vest and life raft instructions are mandated by regulators. But I wish that regulators would update those requirements. Airline passengers board airplanes, not the Titantic, and if it’s really that bad that the plane is going into water, a life vest and whistle are the least of your concerns. If airlines were permitted to spend less time demonstrating how to put on a vest and more time stressing that, in an emergency stop or crash, passengers must leave behind the bag, drop the phone, forget the whistle and get the heck out of the plane as fast as possible … that could well save their lives and those around them.

But back to Korean Air’s new video. The song, by the way, is called Let’s Go Everywhere, and will be released as a single album in mid-November, with profits going to the Global Party Project’s Global Citizen Campaign. In that sense, this is a safety video that could save lives without any onboard emergency. So get on your dancing shoes and start bopping … here’s the link.

Karen Walker, karen.walker@informa.com

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