Image via Simpliflying

APEX Insight: Airlines turn a 2003 pop hit into an opportunity to humanize their brand, and the videos went viral.

One of American pop star Britney Spears’ biggest hits has been “Toxic.” The main feature of the music video accompanying the song is of course that Spears plays a flight attendant.

This has spurred a range of tribute videos in response, with one recent example involving Air Asia flight attendant Assraf Nasir, lip-syncing and showing off some awesome moves in tandem with the song.

Nasir’s original YouTube video quickly went viral and made its way to Facebook, where it was seen nine million times

Air Asia boss Tony Fernandes reposted the clip on his own Instagram page where it notched up another 300k views , lauding Nasir’s talent and the fact that “staff can just have fun and be themselves.”

Nasir’s efforts were subsequently covered in media worldwide, such as Mashable and the Daily Mail.

Assraf Nasir hasn’t been the only flight attendant to do his own version of “Toxic,” a number of airlines have been jumping on the bandwagon to celebrate Spears’ current world tour.

One of those stops is Tel Aviv, and so at the end of June flight attendants from Israeli airline EL AL created a video, which the airline then posted onto its Facebook page, where it’s so far been viewed 164k times.

Image via Simpliflying

This was then widely picked up by the Israeli media including the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel.

Interestingly Variety claims that the Britney Spears tribute video is part of a marketing strategy to lure passengers who have been deserting the national airline for Turkish Airlines: “Why pay through the teeth for in-flight bagels and a mini-can of Coke with Hebrew lettering when you can change planes in Istanbul for half the price?”

Finally, four flight attendants from Thai LCC Nok Air performed a “Toxic” video in an empty plane, to honour the pop star’s Bangkok visit. So far, the Nok Air version has notched up over 300k views.

It’s not clear whether Nok Air’s video was spontaneous or whether it was planned by the marketing department.

However, Pinyot Pibulsongkram, Nok Air’s vice president of marketing told CNN, “We are really excited to see our crew’s initiatives to make this incredible video. Not only that they are excited about Britney landing in Bangkok and love the song ‘Toxic,’ but they also had a lot of fun representing our brand.”

Key Takeaways

Flight attendant music videos aren’t new – check out Simpliflying’s article on the dancing Cebu Pacific flight attendants from 2010. However they work. They tap into popular culture and humanize the brand by showcasing the people behind the airline.

Out of the three videos covered, a special mention goes to Air Asia. The Air Asia video was spontaneous, and Tony Fernandes’ reaction in applauding it says a lot about the company’s culture and style.

This case study was featured in SimpliFlying’s Airline Marketing Benchmark Report, which showcases the top airline branding strategies each month. Find out more here.