Category A05. Travel, Transport & Leisure
Name Company Position
Ed van Bennekom DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Creative Director
Jasper Diks DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Creative Director
Nick Maas DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Copywriter
Leo van Oss DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Art Director
Yuka Kambayashi DDB & Tribal Amsterdam RTV Director
Esther te Pas DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Business Director
Ralf Hesen DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Strategy Director
Gee Linton VR Gorilla Director (online video)
Arne Toonen VR Gorilla Director (VR Film)
Peter van Apeldoorn VR Gorilla Lighting Camera Man
Dajo Brinkman VR Gorilla D.O.P.
Daan Tan VR Gorilla Producer
Spook Spook Soundstudio
Massive music Massive music Music
Natascha van Roode KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Head of Global Marketing Communication
Paul Sluis KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Global Marketing Communications Manager

The Campaign

We needed to strike the right balance between convincing budget passengers that KLM is worth paying a little extra while maintaining KLM’s caring attitude and actually offering them something they wouldn’t have otherwise. This led to the creative idea: KLM’s Flight Upgrader. A tongue-in-cheek VR tool that gave any traveller the opportunity to turn their budget flight into a KLM flight. All they had to do is to put on a VR Cardboard, click their smartphone in, and start the app. We infiltrated budget flights so they could now read their favourite newspaper, watch a movie, have a VR taste of a free meal etc. All stuff they have to pay extra for on the flight they are actually on. Forget about the harsh reality and enjoy the benefits of flying KLM! In addition to the Flight Upgrader, we created a social video to reach a bigger audience.


We recorded an entire flight in VR, with services like a functioning entertainment system, access to thousands of papers and magazines and more. All things that budget airlines charge extra money for. The KLM cardboards, together with the app, were handed out on airports to passengers who were about to board a budget airline. And they were available for everyone in the App- and Google Play-Store. People could spend as much time on board as the duration of their actual flight. And so they ended up enjoying all the benefits of flying all-inclusive without paying a single dollar extra. People who wanted to enjoy the upgrade at home could experience it online at www.klm.com/flightupgrader where they could also order a VR cardboard for free. We shared the social video via KLM’s social channels (supported with a modest seeding budget) and sent it together with a press release to selected media.

The campaign was a great success - it was seen by thousands of passengers while boarding budget airlines. Their response was overwhelmingly positive, generating a 99% favourable sentiment. The campaign was launched only recently but has already reached +8M people. The campaign video that covered the stunt generated 4.5 million views. The campaign received widespread coverage from travel blogs, tech sites and international news media. Achieving a click-through rate to KLM’s campaign website of 0.86%, significantly outperforming the industry average of 0.42%. The campaign video was widely shared on social media, sparking discussion on Facebook and Reddit about the low standards of budget airlines and their hidden costs. Many concluded that flying should be a pleasure, not a burden, reflecting KLM’s vision and the video’s core message.

The Situation

For this work we utilised almost exclusively earned-media tactics to influence public dialogue and change perceptions of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ product offer and pricing in the US, versus that of Budget Airlines. With a cool VR-device and a witty, provocative newsworthy event, we generated free publicity, without attacking KLM’s competitors head-on. With the video we shot of the event, we activated social media users to engage with our brand message and share it with friends.

The Strategy

This campaign was targeted at people living in the US who take, or consider taking, intercontinental flights to Europe. The story ‘you miss out quality and service when you fly a budget airline’ has been told many times before, so we had to do something special. We wanted people to experience the difference between KLM and budget airlines. VR enabled us to bring our services on board of budget airlines and thus let passengers experience the difference at the moment it mattered most. By bringing KLM services on board of a budget airline, we generated talk value that spread this idea further. To share this, we created a tongue-in-cheek social video that featured low-budget travellers being ‘treated’ to that VR experience. This gave us the opportunity to activate a broad audience and a wide range of media (from lifestyle and entertainment, to gadget and tech oriented media).