British Airways reach for the skies in a quirky take on the onboard safety demonstration synonymous with air travel, punctuated with some homegrown humour and notable faces. The five-minute piece will air on BA operated long haul flights as summer arrives, giving audiences not only the important bullet points of in-flight safety but an illustration of the many hands within the airline that work together to enable each take-off.
From a creative standpoint, pitching a brand film based on those surreal few minutes – objectively speaking – of onboard safety instruction an air traveller experiences before being hoisted some 30,000 feet in the air, was no doubt tricky. The British may be known the world over for our queuing prowess and reserve, but alongside that attitude comes self-assurance. Who has time to focus on a mime act at the front of the plane when we’ve sun-kissed activities to discuss, awkward lines of shared legroom to draw, and first pages of some trashy read bought on impulse from the airport newsagent to thumb? You know, British things. And herein lies both our fault and the keystone of The Original Safety Demonstration. It is a piece that banks on our apathy.
If we’re honest with ourselves we probably don’t pay as much attention to these critical briefings as we should, which means BA’s film has plenty of runway for different ideas without much fear of falling far, at least creatively. But it cannot afford to be boring, it must keep audiences engaged.
The Original Safety Briefing takes an intelligent angle of overlapping cultural quirks, fish and chips and the rain, bolstered by a sharp script that works to drive home a narrative of Britain the collective, boarding one flight together.
Tennis wunderkind Emma Raducanu, rapper Little Simz and chef Tom Kerridge appear to often either punctuate more serious notes or underscore straight to camera punchlines reminiscent of that Waller-Bridge/Fleabag-eque style of delivery the British public have come to know well. With nearly 4k likes on LinkedIn and nearly 30 times as many on YouTube in a matter of weeks, this piece has clearly gained the traction it was looking for.
Capturing and holding interest in an age of truncated attention and divided opinion is difficult, it’s true. Here, a mixture of high production value, script prioritisation and famous faces deliver a strong example of how story and framing can elevate even the most tedious or overly corporate messages to another place. Just as in real life the safety demonstration speaks directly to the audience, acknowledging that while everyone is different, it is ultimately our uniqueness which brings us together. And perhaps, if we just focused for a few moments, the common ground we might all unanimously agree on is putting safety first.