Catching somebody's eye and attention

Something what is mandatory communicating a message is ...
 ... getting attention
... holding  it.

One way getting attention is through surprise ...
 ... something unexpected,
 ... out of context,
 ... braking some rules.

When something is familiar there’s little reason to pay attention to it.
All the more if we talking about in-flight safety information - first of all it's uncool to listen and on the other hand we really think that we know everything in detail.
It’s unlikely to communicate something new to someone so the person can easily divert his attention elsewhere.
But if we can achieve it that something is unexpected, when it contains an element of surprise, not the same sermon we all heard again and again ,it draws our attention because there is something new and unknown in it that requires mental processing or just is braking rules and standards.
We have to breaking existing patterns, but in a way that reinforces the core of the message or idea.

The following safety videos are real great:

Virgin America's new safety video features a troop of photogenic dancing air stewards, singing instructions about turning off mobile phones and other electronic equipment.

And an older safety video by Virgin America:

And here is another cute version by Thompson:

And I do not forget mentioning two videos of one of my clients Delta Air Lines:

and the latest from Delta - Delta goes totally '80s in the latest of its creative in-flight safety videos

Or once again examples by New Zealand Airlines:
I already raise this topic in a former article:

Mentioning these videos:

That leads me to a great book I would like to make you aware of.
Chip and Dan Heath's Made to Stick shows us that if you want your message to be memorable, keep it simple.
The book's outline follows the acronym 'SUCCES'. Each letter refers to a characteristic that can help make an idea 'sticky':

  • Simple — find the core of any idea:
  • Unexpected — grab people's attention by surprising them
  • Concrete — make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credible — give an idea believability
  • Emotional — help people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories — empower people to use an idea through narrative

Last but not least I like to point you to Patrick Carlin, an American stand-up comedian, talking about airline announcements - and at various points I am not sure whether it's comedy or a lecture on communication - take the time to listen to him it's instructive and fun: