Big Budgets, Big Stars & Big Ideas. How Airlines Became YouTube’s Top Travel Brands…

8th May 2014
Pól Ó Conghaile

Viral video is becoming more and more important in travel, with big brands increasingly willing to spend small fortunes on short clips they hope will wing their way around the Internet.

Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, as you’ll see below.

However, it’s interesting to note a recent Skift news story reporting that airlines are the top travel brands on YouTube. Although destinations were the most prolific travel brands on YouTube in April 2014, videos posted by airlines had the most views and highest approval ratings.

The finding closely correlates with Skift Trends Report about Online Video Strategies in the Travel Industry. Here are some of the best airline ads at the moment, with my take…

1. Turkish Airlines ‘Hayal Edince’

It’s all good. Turkish Airlines obviously has a generous budget (as recent viral sensations starring Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant demonstrate), but big budgets don’t always guarantee successful – or even tasteful – results. Hayal Edince is in Turkish, but that doesn’t matter. One exposure to its Cinema Paradiso-style enchantments is all that’s required to click that share button.

2) Air New Zealand’s #Safetyinparadise

Air New Zealand was something of a mould-breaker in terms of safety videos, famously recruiting several All Blacks rugby stars to snap passengers out of their pre-flight slumber. While the cheesy production values of the original combined with genuine celebs to create a viral hit, however, the 2.0 version featuring Sports Illustrated swimwear models feels gratuitous at best…

3) Emirates Scores with Ronaldo & Pele

A very recent addition to the canon of airline YouTube hits sees Emirates contrive to have its newest Global Ambassador, Christian Ronaldo, bump into his colleague in endorsement, the Brazilian legend Pelé. The two football idols are brought together with fans in a flagship A380 lounge in a new digital campaign. Despite the star power, however, it’s nowhere near as energised or creative as the Messi Vs Bryant efforts by Turkish Airlines. Where the latter have charm and good ideas at their heart, this one is lathered in cringe, feeling rather obviously like the corporate fawn-fest it is.

4) Singapore Shoots a Stinker…

Could this be the worst travel ad ever made? From its Vaseline-lathered production values to the ham acting and infuriating pacing, Singapore Tourism somehow manages to squeeze all of the pitfalls of advertising into a relatively short 2.59″ run time. It’s not an airline ad, but it deserves inclusion as a lesson in what to avoid.

“See where the world is heading,” is the tagline. Away from Singapore, I’ll wager.