Hey, Brussels Airlines passengers, are you ready to rock?
Probably not. No doubt you'd prefer a safe, uneventful flight. Well, one of Belgium's fave bands is here to help. So, sit back and enjoy an ethereal flight-safety music video from the band Hooverphonic. (It's more Euro-pop than rock 'n' roll, actually, but there's more than enough heavy metal built into the actual plane.)
"Put your hand luggage under the seat in front of you,
Or stow it in the overhead compartments.
If you're sitting in the front row or next to an emergency exit,
you can only store your items in the overhead bins.
Please be careful when you open them.
Most electronic devices can be used,
but always follow the instructions given by the crew.
Remember that consuming your own alcoholic drinks
is not allowed on this flight."
Catchy stuff! But please, fliers in first class, stop waving those lighters. Like the song says:
"You're not allowed to smoke.
You're not allowed to vape.
Don't forget there're smoke detectors in the lavatories."
As for those of you holding up phones:
"Most electronic devices can be used, but always follow the instructions given by the crew."
Hooverphonic, a staple on the European charts since 1995, adapted the lyrics from actual flight instructions—obvi!—and wrote an original tune. TBWA\Belgium guided campaign development, basing the video's imagery on the works of Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte.
So, trippy visuals for a safe trip. That works!
Of course, artsy (and occasionally wacky) airline videos have been a thing since Delta first charted that course in 2008. Through the years, we've seen countless variations. For Air France, it's become de rigueur. Other recent notables include Alaska Airlines spoofing "The Safety Dance" to lure pandemic-weary travelers back into the skies, and Ryan Reynolds' "unsafest safety video" hyping Aviation Gin aboard British Airways.
The Brussels Airlines clip will be shown on the carrier's fleet for the next three years.
Muse spoke to TBWA creative director Jérémie Goldwasser and senior art director Vital Schippers about helping the Brussels Airlines project get off the ground:
Why go this route?
Jérémie Goldwasser and Vital Schippers: Airlines safety videos are boring enough that they would help you fall asleep even before your plane takes off. We wanted to break the conventions of a classic safety video, while of course still being clear on safety instructions.
Brussels Airlines has a long tradition of carrying the best of Belgium to the world. Whether it's an Airbus A320 disguised as the famous shark submarine from the adventures of cartoon character Tintin. Or a 37-meter-long flying piece of art, dedicated to Magritte. Or a plane celebrating our national pride: the Belgian Red Devils [national soccer team]. As Belgium is also world-famous for its music scene, we decided to team up with Hooverphonic.
You wanted that band from the start?
Hooverphonic was the band we were aiming for from day one. They are well-known on an international level and loved by a broad audience. Their premium style fits the premium DNA of Brussels Airlines like a glove.
Did the band need convincing?
When we briefed Alex Callier, one of the Hooverphonic members, it was crystal clear he was dedicated like hell to make this happen. The idea is simple. But making such a large volume of text—which often is quite dry—sound catchy was definitely a challenge. They nailed it. When we were on set, the entire crew was singing along. Knowing we were all singing about oxygen masks, fire exits and safety belts felt kind of strange. But it was the best compliment we could get. To launch the video, Hooverphonic performed the song live at the gate of our national airport when the newest Airbus of Brussels Airlines took off for its maiden flight.
So, it's an original tune, but the words are actual safety language?
This track is written especially for the safety video. They didn't pimp an old tune. The lyrics were screened many times by Brussels Airlines and by the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Even though we wanted to make sure it all sounded sexy and catchy, we couldn't take any risk by leaving things out, or take shortcuts to make it fit better. Some shots were mandatory to show as well. If not, we would have snuck more surrealism into it.
Indeed, the video's look and feel are distinctive. Magritte would be proud.
We teamed up with Studio Regie, a virtual production studio, and build every backdrop from scratch. The entire Airbus was created through 3-D modeling, from the giant wings to the tiniest screw. This kind of approach was a first in Belgium. A huge and complex task with a lot of technical challenges. It took weeks before we actually finalized all the imagery we needed and could shoot with the band.
Michel Moriaux, Claudia Tluk, Krisja Mertens
Creative Director: Jeremie Goldwasser
Senior Art Director: Vital Schippers
Digital Creative: Jonas Van Bael
Client Services Director: Geert Potargent
Account Manager: Charlotte Rooseleer
Traffic Manager: Laurie Herbots
Strategic Director: Günther Van Lany
Connection Strategist: Laurent Colson
Mieke Vandewalle, Cindy De Mooter & Sophie Scheck
Production Company: Make
Producers: Ben Wevers
Regisseur: Jan Boon
DOP: Piet Deyaert
Olav Verhoeven: Head of Virtual Production& Design.
Studio Regie: Virtual Production Studio Facilities.
Gaffer: Gideon Van Essen
Art Director: Aaron De Keyzer (Cachet)
Styling: Tom Eerebout
Post-Production Company: Make
Post-producers: Leslie Verbist & Greet Van Thillo
Offline: Helena Overlaet-Michiels
Offline socials: Gill Vander Cluyzen/Nabil El Hajjouti
Online: Xavier Pouleur
Grading: Joost Van Kerckhove
Sound & Music:
Performed by Hooverphonic
Written, mixed and produced by Alex Callier