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Security Theatre

Stewardess Almost everything that happens before you fly on a plane is not as it seems. In order to deal with anxiety, the airlines put on a show. They've been doing it for a long, long time, and it's starting to show signs of wear and tear. The show is getting old and the lies are starting to show. Here's some snips from an Economist article (hat tip to the Freaknomics blog):

“GOOD morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are delighted to welcome you aboard Veritas Airways, the airline that tells it like it is. Please ensure that your seat belt is fastened, your seat back is upright and your tray-table is stowed. At Veritas Airways, your safety is our first priority. Actually, that is not quite true: if it were, our seats would be rear-facing, like those in military aircraft, since they are safer in the event of an emergency landing. But then hardly anybody would buy our tickets and we would go bust.

...

Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero. This aircraft is equipped with inflatable slides that detach to form life rafts, not that it makes any difference. Please remove high-heeled shoes before using the slides. We might as well add that space helmets and anti-gravity belts should also be removed, since even to mention the use of the slides as rafts is to enter the realm of science fiction.

Please switch off all mobile phones, since they can interfere with the aircraft’s navigation systems. At least, that’s what you’ve always been told. The real reason to switch them off is because they interfere with mobile networks on the ground, but somehow that doesn’t sound quite so good. On most flights a few mobile phones are left on by mistake, so if they were really dangerous we would not allow them on board at all, if you think about it..."

The list is endless (plastic forks, etc.) but the lesson is subtle: every business does this. From the standardized layout of a doctor's waiting room to the forms you fill out at the bank, we subject our clients and prospects to a little show that is not directly related to what we're doing for them. We're all doing theatre. We want our waiter to be better dressed than us, and the stockbroker's office to be as far away from an off track betting facility (or a laundromat) as possible.

Of course, the show is related to what we're selling. It's related for the same reason that the price of a cup of coffee varies by a factor of 120 depending on who made it and where you consume it. You don't have to like the fact that a show is going on, but you're part of it. The most successful organizations understand this and work hard to put on a show that works. One that doesn't get in the way of what we set out to purchase in the first place.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Security Theatre:

» When The Show Works Best from Nuts and Bolts of Brand
The Show, put on by all organizations, is sometime great! Seth describes how the show put on by the airlines is a bit thread bare. As a private pilot, I cant claim to know everything, but I can assure you there are facts in his p... [Read More]

» Entertainment Value from erniesblog
Seth has a great post on theatre today. As usual, it flipped a switch in my head. See, I made a big presentation yesterday. It went very well. Applause, even. For an idea that's pretty intricate, and definitely unencumbered by [Read More]

» The Security Mascaraed from The Marketing Fresh Peel
Seth Godin posted today about what he titled "Security Theatre." He is basically describing the mascaraed that airlines put on before every flight. They are selling the illusion of a safe and secure flight... [Read More]

» The Security Masquerade from The Marketing Fresh Peel
Seth Godin posted today about what he titled "Security Theatre." He is basically describing the masquerade that airlines put on before every flight. They are selling the illusion of a safe and secure flight. Seth goes on to explain how every busines... [Read More]

» Miedo a Volar y las Mentiras de las Aerolíneas from UniversidadPeru.com - Estudios y Orientacion
A través de los años, todas las aerolíneas empezaron a adoptar una serie de prácticas y estándares al respecto, de manera que todas hablaran el mismo idioma. Dicho de otra manera: que todas digan las mismas MENTIRAS. [Read More]

» A Great Find from Creative Careers Unleashed
I loved the book Freakonomics. Thanks to Seth I just found the Freakonomic Blog. Tune in for a truly intriguing view of life, politics, whatever -- through the genius of Steven Levitt. [Read More]

» ReBlog: Security Theatre by SG from Geekfish Weblog
This is worth a read.  Security Theatre over on Seth Godins blog is a refreshing post.  It talks about how  there are many cases where we put on a show or a bit of theatrics for our customers.   His primary examp... [Read More]

» The end of security theatre. from larry borsato
I think it might be [Read More]

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