Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific Air may be set to list Tuesday on the Philippine Stock Exchange in the country's biggest IPO this year, but that's not why the company's in the spotlight in recent weeks.
Rather, it's the carrier's flight attendants who’ve been creating the buzz, by delivering arguably the most interesting flight safety demonstration ever performed.
During a mid-day Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Bhutan on September 30, female flight attendants onboard descended down the aisle in what appeared initially to be a regular inflight safety demonstration.
But instead of the customary show-and-tell travelers were more used to, the crew broke into a choreagraphed dance number, to the tune of the hit song “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga, and got jiggy with it as they demonstrated the safety features of the aircraft.
A quick-thinking passenger fished out a recorder for posterity and uploaded the video on YouTube, where it has since garnered more than 9 million hits, and counting. (Click here to view the video.)
Cebu Pacific has used this ‘catchy’ demonstration in two flights so far, but may do it "occasionally" in future.
The airline insists it did not intend for the performances to drum up interest in the IPO.
“The whole demonstration was prepared quite some time back,” Candice Iyog, Vice President for Marketing and Distribution at Cebu Pacific Air told CNBC. “We’ve positioned ourselves as a 'fun' airline. We were always coming up with new ideas, so nothing prevented us from doing this. The move was unprecedented.”
The airline also insisted the YouTube video was not a publicity stunt.
“The idea [for a dance safety demonstration] was planned, yes. But the uploading on YouTube was not," Iyog said. "The impact that the video had was not something we could really plan. It was just one of those ideas that we were brave enough to explore.”
Branding experts say whether the Youtube move was deliberate or not, consequences can go either way.
“Given our experience with things like YouTube promotion, there will always either be a negative or a positive feedback,” said Kelvin Ng, Branding Director at Acacia Design Consultants. “From what I gather, the effect has been more positive [for Cebu].”
He said Cebu has made it work by leveraging on the “fun” element. The airline has had a history of cooking up interesting activities for its domestic-flight passengers, including conducting caroling sessions during the Christmas season, as well as facilitating marriage proposals on board.
“If that is the medium and it works for you, and if you are able to consistently apply it over a long period of time, then you will be able to start building a brand with that "fun" element,” Ng added.
Cebu shares made astrong debut on Tuesday, jumping 6.4 percent above its IPO price. The airline raised $611 million in its initial public offer, a record amount in dollar terms for a