YouTube + Some Creativity + Some Courage (can) = Success

YouTube is known as the land of videos of dogs running on treadmills.  While there is certainly some substantive content on the site, there is also a lot of — shall we put this nicely — fluff.  Sometimes YouTube hits are substantive while others are mere fluff.

One of the more recent hits on the site falls into the substantive category; it is a Delta Airlines in-flight safety demonstration video.  Yes, you know those boring demonstrations at the beginning of your flight that you ignore 'cause they're boring and you hope to never have to rely upon the information they present.  Well, people are watching a safety video intently without even flying.

This is an example of how a normally staid item can turn into a viral hit.  However, your father's safety demonstration is not destined for Internet fame.  Delta had to take a less traditional approach when producing this video.  

image Delta wants more passengers to pay attention to its safety videos, and that's why it added some cheeky and sassy elements to its recently debuted presentation.  For instance, while explaining that smoking is prohibited on the Delta planes, the main narrator, Kathleen Lee, waved her finger in the camera.  When I was flying home from vacation last week, I sat there and asked, "Did she just wave her finger at me?"  What a flirt!  That caught my attention (plus the fact that Lee — aka "Deltalina" for her resemblance of Angelina Jolie — is absolutely gorgeous).

What I find more interesting is not the fact that Delta lightened up this serious and important aspect of its passenger service but that the airline placed the presentation on YouTube before it even premiered on an actual flight.  This was a cheap and easy way for Delta to help accomplish its goal of promoting passenger safety.

Was posting the video on YouTube a success?  While I can't speak for the airline, I think it has achieved success.  As of this posting, this video has had more than one million views since it was posted in late February of this year (we're talking an airline safety demonstration!).  Further, CNN reported that more than 300,000 views occurred before the video's in-flight debut.  Plus this new video has garnered Delta a lot of free press and more YouTube views (see the Safety category of Delta's blog).

Thus, Delta gets a gold star for its idea of posting this video on YouTube because it was smart enough to recognize that the video had potential and had the courage to try posting it in the first place.  Delta even gets some bonus points for putting behind the scene pictures from the video's shoot on its flickr stream.