Delta Airlines’ Meme-Filled Safety Video Is Garbage

Delta Airlines’ Meme-Filled Safety Video Is Garbage


Maybe I’m just grumpy, but I pretty much hate this new Internet-meme-ridden safety video from Delta airlines. It’s a miles-long marathon cringe, an endless procession of dead horses brought out and beaten mercilessly. Try watching it. If you’ve kept up with the Internet at all over the past couple years, you probably won’t be able to make it through. It’s just obnoxiously tired references rehashed predictably, over and over and over. I can’t, you know? I can’t.

Now, I’m no stranger to “entertaining” aeroplane safety videos, and I totally think they can serve a purpose beyond simple marketing, which this thing is clearly meant for, at least in part. If you’re ensnared by what’s on screen, you stand a much better chance of learning how to, you know, not die in the event of an emergency. I personally find Virgin America’s safety videos laughable, and yet I cannot look away from them. They are oddly captivating, and I basically know their dumb song by heart at this point.

But this Delta thing is different — at least, for me. The first time I tried to watch it, I couldn’t even finish it because the meme bombardment was so cringe-inducing. It was painful. I wanted to look at pretty much anything else. Then again, I’m a child of the Internet age, an Internet junkie by way of destiny if not DNA. Of course I basically drowned and choked to death and died again of those memes when they first hit it big. Of course I’m sick to second-death of them. So maybe this safety video just isn’t for me.

But if it’s not for someone like me, who is it for? If you’re on the Internet pretty much at all, ever, you’ve likely been exposed to a near-fatal dose of these memes too. Meanwhile, if people who rarely use the Internet (yes, they still exist) see this thing, they will just be like, “What?” Because memes are about time and place. Context. Shared knowledge. Without those things, memes are meaningless. They’re like dumb in-jokes, except passed between millions of people. Slowly, as people adapt them, put their own spins on them, they evolve and change. People get to own tiny pieces of them. But eventually, they do wear out.

That brings us to the last reason Delta’s video is the audiovisual equivalent of an aeroplane septic tank: it doesn’t even add anything to the jokes it references. Say what you will about meme humour (it can be applied lazily; it often tends more toward “hey, remember that thing?” than actual cleverness), but the beauty of it is a slow accumulation of shared ideas and experiences. Again, it’s that in-joke appeal. However, if you’re not gonna add anything meaningful to it — especially when you’re working with jokes that are tired, dried-out husks of their former selves — then what’s even the point? So on top of everything else, Delta’s video is lazy. And I mean, say what you will about that Virgin dance video, but that shit clearly took work.

This is yet another instance of major companies not understanding how to engage with a new generation of humour, of culture. Delta, like so many others, has merely parroted a bunch of once buzz-worthy memes back at us. It’s obnoxious, painful to watch, and a bit insulting. Next time, Delta, try to actually understand the people you want to communicate with.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @vahn16.


  • Thoughts before: Memes? I love memes! This sounds like a hoot!

    Thoughts after: None. I have already pre-emptively committed seppuku.

  • First 30 seconds: Awwww it ain’t bad.

    3 minutes in: Eh maybe the writer overreacted a little… not much. A little… maybe.

    By the end: Fucking kill me already.

  • Welcome to Delta airlines, in the case of an emergency, make sure you’re trending

  • Jesus, they’re just throwing them in with no context at all.

    Wow, and they dug up the ‘oooga-chugga’ baby? Yeesh.

  • The SlowMoGuy bit made me smile, but… erghle. The everything else. I don’t like the everything else.

  • They saw ANZ ones and wanted to imitate using memes instead, but failed dramatically. Another gripe, though may seem stupid to those not use to it, is the guy’s suit being too big. Seriously, it’s at least a size too large… Also, I’m stuck listening to the stupid virgin one now…

  • Yeah… some of this is very strange. If you make it to the end though – click on the blend buttons – they take you to a freakin weird “remix” of 30 seconds of the video. Think like adult swim off the air… or TIm and Eric or something.. they are awesomely strange.

  • I like the appearances of Magic of Rahat, Orange, and a few other YouTube celebs. Maybe it would have worked better if it was just YouTube stars rather than memes, because some of those memes are indeed too weirdly applied in this video, not to mention Nyan Cat is not nyanning! I don’t really care, but for many that does not sit well with ceiling cat.
    I see what they tried to do and it is quite funny I guess. Definitely would have been better to not see the blender guy naming all the other YouTube stars for whatever that interactive thing was.
    They should have appeared in the main video like all the others.

  • I only watched it to see Gavin Free (The Slow Mo Guys). That’s all. Rest was boring. 😛

  • The start: yeah ill watch this.
    half way through: my eye my eyes, why so many memes
    end: RIP

  • The idea of the ad was clever. Show all the young people your ‘hip’ and whatnot. but most of the memes shown had no context. Like Nyan cat, there was no reason he would be there. Rewrite the ad so the meme references actually had a reason to be there, and like someone else said, have more YouTube stars actually appear.

    Otherwise, its a clever idea and some parts were mildly humorous.

  • unlike 90% of the internet i am not so far up my own arsehole that i can still have a laugh at a joke. i liked it.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!