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How to Explain Delta’s New 1980s-Themed Safety Video to Millennials

@jasonclampet

Jan 28, 2014 1:00 pm

Skift Take

Delta’s judgement on what’s funny or interesting in in-flight safety videos continues to baffle.

— Jason Clampet

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This is what rock stars looked like in 1982.

This man is wearing a hat made popular by the band Devo. He’s also Jerry Casale, a founding member of the band.

These are mall rats.

This man is playing the Coleco Electronic Quarterback game, perhaps the greatest hand-held video game ever.

Teddy Ruxpin was the Tickle-Me-Elmo of the 1980s.

Your iPhone does everything all these devices once did.

The Atari 2600, in this man’s lap, was the leading gaming console in the early 1980s.

The man with the Kris Kristofferson beard is wearing a Cosby Sweater.

The man in the aisle is doing “the worm,” a popular breakdance move.

Light colors and a sweater tied around the shoulders was the typical outfit of uptight authority figures in John Hughes films.

This future IT desk staffer has a mullet haircut.

These men with big hair are not cross dressing. They a simply fans of bands like Warrant.

“Alf” was a sitcom on NBC in the ’80s. He was an alien from the planet Melmac who liked to eat cats.

These are leg warmers.

The man in acid wash jean ensemble and a high-top fade is drinking Tab, the first mass-market diet soda.

This is what happens when the tape in your cassette spills into your lap. A turn of the finger, or better a twist with a pencil, helps fix the problem.

The chubby man with a silly look on his face is perplexed by the Rubik’s Cube.

On the right is former basketball player and sometimes actor Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. He was co-pilot Roger Murdock in the move “Airplane!” released in 1980.

Making a clever in-flight safety video is the latest outlet for airlines seeking to distinguish themselves from their competitors while also keeping passengers engaged during the takeoff process.

Delta Air Lines released its latest in-flight safety video [below] earlier today, and the airline has turned to the 1980s for inspiration.

Whereas Virgin America recently went all out with a music video suitable for broadcast television and Air New Zealand draws repeatedly upon a clever sense of humor and the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, Delta apparently decided that referencing things that many people are too young to understand is a good idea.

It doesn’t really succeed.

Delta trots out random 1980s touch-points like Atari, Rubik’s Cube, Alf, and break dancing that younger travelers don’t much care about and for which older travelers only have a passing nostalgia. But in the same way that its strange plastic surgery/robot flight attendant video from six years ago was oddly curious, it’s worth watching to understand how some companies just don’t have a clear brand voice.

In order to explain the references to those unaware or forgetful, we’ve noted 18 nods to the 1980s using the images above. Please join in with anything we missed in the comments below.

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