Build Links “Fit to Fly” with Richard Simmons

Look around on your next flight, and you will see passengers reading the newspaper, talking, listening to headphones, or even snoring through the safety presentation except if you are flying on Air New Zealand. The airline teamed with fitness guru and zany character Richard Simmons for an upbeat presentation of the safety rules.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video.

Besides making the safety rules memorable with the catch phrases of “stretch and slide” which describes the baggage stowing process, “taking a breather” explaining the use of the oxygen mask, and my favorite, “let’s kick butts” to remind passengers not to smoke on the plane, Richard Simmons is as perky as ever and looks like he just stepped out of one of his “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” exercise videos.

The background dancers are dressed in disco workout clothes (including leg warmers) with lighting reminiscent of “Saturday Night Fever” which adds to the fun.

In the era of increased fares, checked baggage fees, oversold flights, delays, and growing customer dissatisfaction, could Air New Zealand actually bring the fun back to flying? One thing is for sure, the company has people talking about something that no one usually pays attention to. With 194,981 views on YouTube in less than one day, it’s obvious that “Fit to Fly” is a great marketing campaign for Air New Zealand.

There are a few valuable lessons to be learned from the “Fit to Fly” video.

1. People like to be entertained.
For many, flying is a necessity not a pleasure. Besides the fact that the planes are full, passengers have limited leg room, and the snacks are sparse, people are just thinking about getting to their destination. By entertaining them and giving them a laugh, passengers may actually enjoy the flight.

2. All company presentations are marketing opportunities.
Air New Zealand made a required product into something that is newsworthy and creating media buzz. They wisely leveraged it on the social networks. Air New Zealand “Fit to Fly” has its own fan page on Facebook with over 68,000 fans.

3. Image is everything.
Because the video is so different, Air New Zealand is being viewed as “hip.” In this day and age, an airline that is viewed as anything but bankrupt and troubled is a welcome change. Will the video increase the number of seats sold on Air New Zealand’s planes? It is hard to say, but it has increased awareness about the airline.

4. Stay in the lead.
Now that Air New Zealand has launched this safety video, the other airlines will be reacting with their own entertaining videos. Air New Zealand will need to change it up while continuing to be clever. Being a pioneer involves even more creativity after the initial success.

Big picture?  What can you do to stand apart?  What makes your site worth ranking #1 on Google?  Is your site “fit to fly” to #1 or are you doing the same old boring point and explain tactics you’ve always done?

Be like Richard Simmons, and if you can’t be fabulous, at least be worth linking to.