JetBlue Feels Your Pain with ‘HumanKinda’

Sam Richardson stars in JetBlue's documentary short "Human Kinda"

This week, we salute the pleasant surprise that is JetBlue’s HumanKinda as our Site of the Week.

What is Human Kinda?

HumanKinda is a hub that’s all about coping with a busy lifestyle. It’s currently hosted on Tumblr and its centerpiece is a documentary short featuring Sam Richardson that is by turns funny and optimistic about how to resolve a seemingly hopeless problem for so many: getting out from under hectic schedules to actually enjoy life.

What Makes HumanKinda Unique?

It’s not every day an airline produces a movie that has nothing to do with locating the exits on a plane.

Part documentary short, but existential comedy, HumanKinda the film takes a light, bordering on feathery approach to the question, “Are we losing our humanity to impossibly busy lifestyles?” It might seem like an extreme question until you start to think about how much “being busy” is really robbing you of life. It also turns out to be a pretty funny question to try and answer, setting up Richardson’s investigation as he tries to help a few ordinary people slow down and indulge the more relaxing side of life. A blend of styles and textures, from animation to interviews and some physical comedy from Richardson, also lends HumanKinda a burbling energy that makes its 15:00 length seem even shorter.

In short, it’s genuinely funny, and just… genuine.

Also of note is the way the film’s initially been distributed. I got it in an email from JetBlue, with a subject line that read:

Put this film on your to-do list

Why was JetBlue sending me a movie recommendation? And what were they recommending? I had no idea, but I was just intrigued, which is usually the key to creative distribution. Sometimes, looking out of place is the best way to get a person’s attention — as long as there’s ample reward. And in this case, the reward was worth it.

Why Does it Matter?

HumanKinda, as its title suggests, is a study in empathy, something JetBlue has excelled in, especially online (their Twitter handle is renowned for great customer service, among other things). HumanKinda is a further extension of the airline’s empathetic approach, using a film to tell a story that just about everyone can relate to.  JetBlue also knows that travel can be a source of significant stress for people — especially when it’s for work. JetBlue wants to be known as the airline that makes travel as stress-free as possible. This film, with its light touch and positive message, is the living embodiment of that idea.

If You Only Have 5 Minutes…

Fair enough, you’re probably too busy to watch the whole thing. But it really is worth the 15 minutes as an antidote to the Monday blues.

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