Opinion

S7 Airlines and OK Go hit high note as they head for space

Social-video expert Unruly reviews the latest viral for S7 Airlines.

Certainly, Upside Down & Inside Out’s 1m-plus shares since its release last week represents a dual victory for S7 Airlines and the plucky kids from Chicago. 8/10

In a month in which artists like Beyoncé, Kanye West and Rihanna have released new work to global fanfare, it seems strangely appropriate that OK Go have also dropped their latest music video.

While the Chicago-based indie pop outfit may not have the cultural imprint of these artists, their position is more or less unique in the music industry. Since 2009’s blockbuster Here It Goes Again, the quartet has revolutionised the once-majestic art of the music video and turned the form into a series of viral hits. Even if you would probably struggle to hum an OK Go song, you have almost certainly seen one of their videos. Is it any surprise brands can't wait to work with them?

Having explored all manner of ambitious and frankly mad concepts through their work, the video for Upside Down & Inside Out is easily their most far-reaching effort. In this case, "far-reaching" means literally stratospheric, as the band performs a ridiculously complex dance number while floating in zero gravity. You read that right. Having exhausted the terrestrial possibilities of the music video, OK Go have literally shot themselves into space.

If you’re familiar with the band’s old videos, this isn’t entirely out of character. Though they made their start with co-ordinated treadmill antics, the troupe's scope quickly expanded to trained dogs, Rube Goldberg devices and futuristic unicycles. Arguably, the band’s career zenith came with 2012’s video for Needing/Getting, which played double duty as Chevrolet’s Super Bowl campaign and was the most-shared 'Big Game' ad that year online. The video – which belted out the band’s charming anthem through the medium of elaborate obstacle course – fully established OK Go as a reliable partner for enterprising brands.

This time around, their vision is brought to our screens thanks to S7 Airlines, Russia’s biggest domestic airline and, seemingly, a perfect fit for three minutes of aeronautical nonsense. As if to hammer home this corporate association even more, there’s even a cameo appearance from some flight attendants halfway through.

While comparing favourite OK Go videos is a pretty subjective exercise, there’s no denying that Upside Down & Inside Out must rank highly, thanks to the brilliant execution of its central gimmick. Despite the fact that they’re floating off the floor, the band are remarkably composed, zipping across the screen like Sandra Bullock in a more funky version of Gravity. As always, the choreography is superb, culminating in the masterful visual of exploding paint balloons drifting in the air. OK Go (and their genius creative team) have an instinct for indelible images.

It might seem bizarre to discuss a new music video without once mentioning the song itself, but this is why OK Go are such an anomaly. Despite being a working musical outfit, they’ve simultaneously crafted a career for themselves as some of the premier purveyors of brand-associated viral video content.

Certainly, Upside Down & Inside Out’s 1m-plus shares since its release last week represents a dual victory for S7 Airlines and the plucky kids from Chicago.

Clearly both bands and brands have a lot to learn from OK Go’s example. In the meantime, we have absolutely no idea where their next video will take them, but we can’t wait.