Short List
Category A07. Travel
Entrant DDB Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Idea Creation DDB Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Idea Creation 2 TRIBAL Amstelveen, THE NETHERLANDS
Media Placement MEDIACOM Düsseldorf, GERMANY
Name Company Position
Ed van Bennekom DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Creative Director
Jasper Diks DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Creative Director
Jesse Houweling DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Executive Producer
Esther te Pas DDB & Tribal Amsterdam Business Director
Jonty Toosey Who’s McQueen Director
Rainer Spix Who’s McQueen Producer
Chirus Guder Who’s McQueen Producer
Bian Tabar Who’s McQueen Producer
Robert Leisewitz Who’s McQueen Producer
Bruce Jackson Who’s McQueen Lighting Cam. Man/D.O.P.
Lisette van der Lee Lisette van der Lee Editor
Massive Music Massive Music Music
Natascha van Roode KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Head of Global Marketing Communication
Armelle de Cordoue KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Manager Marketing Communication & PR
Nadja Daller Sturm KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Senior Marketing Communication Executive

Why is this work relevant for Media?

For this work we used several unconventional media: we developed cash machines and a restaurant (to offer unsuspecting people an educational brand experience), we did a radio station takeover and we created engaging social content about these activities. The brand experiences made people realise that KLM is not what they thought it was, but something different: the Royal Dutch Airlines. The medium was the message. With the social content we created, we motivated people to share KLM’s message. Finally we aired radio commercials to push our message.


KLM has an awareness problem in Germany. When asked ‘What is KLM?’, just a fraction more than half of the German population knows it is an airline (source: G&J Reiseanalyse Feb 2018). 46% of the Germans do not know the right answer to the question, even though KLM originates from a neighbouring country and operates in the German market. After doing research (online and street interviews) we found out that people think KLM is a bank, a restaurant or a radio station. KLM Germany asked the agency to raise awareness of the fact KLM are the Royal Dutch Airlines.

Describe the creative idea/insights

As mentioned above, almost half of the German population gave the wrong answer to the question ‘What is KLM?’ and thought it was a bank, a restaurant or a radio station. To create maximum impact and earned media effects, we decided to convert KLM into what people believed it was.We literally transformed KLM into other entities. We opened a KLM restaurant, installed KLM cash machines on busy streets and we took over national radio station Energy Radio to address the misconceptions and set the record straight. At the aviation-themed restaurant, real flight attendants served KLM inflight meals for free. The cash machine did not give any money but surprised people with a free flight ticket and showed them all the benefits of flying KLM. The radio station had a KLM band playing specially made KLM tracks, and KLM benefits were wrapped in fun KLM news items, commercials and a quiz.

Describe the strategy

Target audience: men and women living in Germany, 30-59 years old, with a middle or higher income and education. They have a positive image of the Dutch. Dutch people are seen as open-minded and approachable, and at the same time as reliable and professional. They like it very much that Dutch culture is close to German culture, but the Dutch approach is a bit less formal, a bit more adventurous. We used the insight that Germans see the Dutch as a bit more adventurous to develop an unconventional experiential approach that really surprised them. Since the campaign budget was limited, we aimed to increase its reach by generating free publicity around the unconventional campaign/events.

Describe the execution

First we created KLM cash machines and placed them on busy streets. The blue ATMs immediately grabbed the attention and surprised people with free tickets. And of course told them all about KLM’s benefits. Then we opened a KLM restaurant and invited influencers and the press to grab a bite of our free inflight meals. To reach even more people in Germany we took over a national German radio station to start KLM radio. We created shareable content out of this and pushed it via social channels reaching millions of people. All content led to the campaign site where all benefits were communicated and people could book a flight ticket. In addition to this, we used PR to generate free publicity around the campaign. Finally we created radio commercials that addressed the misconception of what KLM stands for.

List the results

Within a month’s time, we were able to raise awareness of the fact KLM is an airline by 8%. The campaign was picked up by both national and international media – from travel blogs to news sites – which helped us accomplish a reach of 38 million+ people in Germany alone. Some titles: HuffPost, Focus, Horizont, Globusliebe, Notes of Berlin. With this approach, we punched far above our weight. Since we targeted our efforts at men and women aged between 30-59, we confidently say we reached substantially more than 50% of our primary target audience. On social media over 1 in 3 impressions resulted in a video view and of those who watched the video, over 1 in 3 watched it until the end! Social sentiment was 99% positive.