KLM High Five Magic.

It used to be that when you wanted to promote your product or service, you hired an ad agency and they would roll out the tried and true classics. You’d have a traditional print campaign, TV spots, radio, direct mail etc. Then technology stepped in and began to whittle away at these channels. The DVR killed TV ads for the most part. Twenty years after the birth of internet advertising, most people ignore them. There is a backlash against in your face advertising on social networks. The fragmentation continues, and with it, agencies are having to get smarter with what they do.

KLM Airlines is a brand that gets technology and the digital space. Over the last few years they have run a number of successful campaigns with deep hooks, or an exclusive digital presence. There latest effort which launched last week connected people from New York and Amsterdam with an offer to win free airline tickets by completing a virtual high five.

Created by Eigen Fabrikaat (DDB Group) and Minivegas the interactive installation was live for one day and offered participants from both sides of the ocean a chance to interact and help each other win.  I didn’t see any connection to KLM’s social media hubs which kind of surprised me since they have such a strong presence, but it might be that I just missed it since this happened a week ago. None the less, it’s a clever idea, and one that shows how pushing the boundaries can create some really clever advertising solutions.

Almost but Not Quite. KLM Must See Map, no App.

KLM has been a big participant in promotional marketing campaigns grounded in social media for sometime. The video below shows the latest from the Dutch airline. The “Must See Map” is built on suggestions of things to do, and places to see from friends responses to a social media query. It asks the traveler to simply ask friends in their social network where they have been and what they have done, then gathers all of this information into a single source.

What is great about this campaign is the fact that KLM will send you a print on demand high-res physical map. What I don’t like is the fact that the map will take 3 weeks to arrive, and there is no dedicated smartphone app. The free online site does a great job of integrating with all of the major social network players, allowing the traveler to gather vast amounts of tips but offers no dedicated smartphone app.

While the physical map is a cool souvenir for your trip, and ties to all the places your socially networked friends tell you to go; it is quite surprising that KLM didn’t take this one step further. A dedicated app is much easier to carry and use than a physical printed map. A dedicated app allows for recommendations to come to you long after the map is printed. A dedicated app allows the traveler to post feedback on friends recommendations. A dedicated app, takes the concept to a whole new level, and extends use far beyond the interaction of the website.


This is a great concept, and I hope that KLM goes a little further with it. KLM currently has 10 apps that they have developed for the iPhone, so I could see them taking this to a whole new level. When they do, “Must See Map” will be a home run.

KLM Airline’s “Tile Your Self” Facebook Campaign.

As Facebook becomes more and more of giant advertising engine, companies are scrambling to produce advertising that fits within the social media platform, and is actually engaging for the user. This is a tricky balancing act between creating something that seems real, and less like an ad, or creating something that feels like an ad, and gets very little traction and social engagement from your user base.

KLM Airlines have tapped into something that represents Holland, and elevates Dutch national pride. Building off of Delft tiles, something that Holland is known for, KLM has created a Facebook application that allows fans of KLM to Delft themselves and create a Delftware tile of their Facebook profile picture. Facebook users can decorate their profile picture, add an inspirational saying and share with friends by using the KLM ‘Tile Yourself’ Facebook App.When you create and share your tile, you are automatically entered into a contest where the winners get to have their tile placed on a KLM jet, which will make numerous international flights promoting KLM and Facebook.

All of this is well and good, but the payoff for participation seems pretty weak. Yes you get to make a cool looking Facebook profile pic and share it with your friends, but in the end what are your chances of actually seeing your image on the plane? I saw this and couldn’t help but think, why didn’t KLM offer the winners a custom one off Delftware tile with their image on it? Or the winners get a free trip on the plane that carries the tile images? There are so many more possibilities for this campaign that seem to have been missed.

The Delta Disaster. Traveling Home From France.

After 10 days in France we flew home from Nice. I was going to write a big old thing about the experience, but I decided that since I had a detailed time line of events that I had kept on  my iPhone. I would just post it instead. The whole event is almost comical  in it’s overarching stupidity. From Delta policies, to Deltas interaction with it’s hotel partners.

I want to say, we got lucky. They sent us to the Doubletree by JFK in New York. Other people on the flight got sent to some off brand hotel that was apparently very bad. Rooms with no sheets, pillows, or towels. So it could have been much worse for us.

All of this took place between 7:00 AM Sunday Morning, and 10:45 today

8:00 AM We have a 45 minute delay in Nice waiting for the flight  crew to arrive. The Delta terminal has the Air Conditioning turned off. The temperature is over 80 with no air circulation. According to the nice man from Nice airport building services, it is up to Delta to turn on the air conditioning and Delta does not want to. Out by the main terminal, the temp is about 70. Unfortunately we can’t hang out there since we have already checked in.

10:30 AM We are finally leaving Nice. The crew is mostly American, and the young lady on the PA is butchering the French language so much that the Spanish attendant has taken over for her.

2:00 PM Arival at JFK in New York. We have a 40 minute walk to the next terminal.

2:40 PM Bags took 40 plus to arrive so we could go through American customs. Good thing we have pleanty of time between flights.

3:15 PM The JFK Delta Terminal is pure shit. It’s 90 degrees and like Nice there is no AC until next week. According to Delta it’s not hot enough outside yet. New York has been in the 80’s for the last 5 days.  People are complaining and getting sick from the heat. It is so warm and stifling, drink vendors only have warm drinks in the coolers. There is nothing cold left unless you go to a bar or fast food place and get a drink to go.

4:30 PM Delta just announced that the First officer is a no show. Can’t fly until he arrives.

5:15 PM Delta just announced that the 1st officer and the head flight attendant are no shows. Can’t fly until they arrive.

5:30 PM Delta just announced that the 1st officer has arrived, still no flight attendant.

6:30 PM (this is when we should be taking off) Delta just pushed our flight back 1 hour to a 7:30 departure.

7:00 PM Delta just pushed our departure time back another hour.

7:15 PM Delta just announced that they are getting a new head flight attendant for us and she should be here with in the next 30 minutes.

7:55 PM Delta just canceled our flight out.

8:05 PM Delta just told everyone to go to gate 24 and “they will figure it out over there”. (That is a direct quote)

8:45 PM We are about 100 in a line of at least 200. Just overheard that there are no more flights from JFK to KC tonight. Laguardia’s last flight to KCI is at 8:30, it’s now  8:45 now. Guess we missed that one too. Were hosed.

9:15 PM out of the 6 people working the counter. 3 just went on break. No one has shown up to replace them.

10:45 PM After more than 2 hours in line, we get to the ticket counter to find out we really have no options. We are spending the night. The woman we are working with has just come on duty so she is trying to help. One guy that was on break just came out of the back room, saw the line and said “Fuck Me”, to the crowd. Down the way there is a group of men from South Africa that are moving to the United States. They barely speak english. The woman that is working with them just strong armed two groups of the men into sharing rooms. She gave the only woman a room to herself only after she complained to the supervisor and a gentleman in line stepped up to help her. This is horrible. They are forcing these guys to share rooms and using the language barrier to justify their actions.

10:30 PM Alecia has us going to the Doubletree. We have been given meal vouchers worth $7.00 each. We also have a ground transportation voucher for $25.00.

10:40 PM The 7:15 AM flight from Laguardia is now full, Delta is trying to force us to wait until the 6:00 PM tomorrow JFK flight home.

10:45  PM Alecia managed to get us on an 11:15 AM flight out of Laguardia tomorrow.

10:50 PM Delta just told us if we want our luggage it is a 2 hour wait to have it brought to bag claim. We are going to the hotel with what we have on.

10:55 PM We have walked to the area where we need to catch the train to our hotel. At this location, Delta bag service is supposed to have toothbrush/paste for us. They don’t.

We just had a 45 minute train and bus ride to the doubletree.

11:30 PM we just got to the Doubletree and want to get food. The kitchen is only taking to go orders and only for the next 10 minutes. Delta and the Doubletree require us to be checked in before we can buy food. The lady at the hotel restaurant takes pity on us, places our order and I go to check in.

11:35 PM Alexandra at the Doubletree puts us in a suite since we are leaving later than most from the canceled Delta flight. She books ground transportation to Laguardia. Things are looking up. (not so fast…)

11:45 PM Our meal vouchers are worth 7 bucks. All meals are at least 12. The menu is crap. The healthiest choice is Stale chicken tenders and fries. This just cost me 12.95 beyond my $6.00 voucher. Pure Bullshit.

Midnight. The 2 drinks we had in bar just set me back 22 bucks. This is for a short pour of Smirnoff on the rocks with a lemon wedge.

The next day.

7:00 AM Our breakfast vouchers are worth $7.00, The doubletree has two choices, a buffet for 15.95, or continental breakfast for $10.00. There are no meals. Just buffet or coffee, juice and toast. If you want it you owe 8, or 3 respectively.

7:45 AM
Talking to others that were on our flight. Half the people that got food vouchers, had vouchers labeled “lunch”, so the Doubletree refused to honor them for dinner meals. Delta issued the lunch vouchers at 9:00 PM knowing people would be buying dinner later at the hotel that night. According to a Doubletree manager, Delta does this all the time knowing people won’t be able to use them, and hopefully Delta won’t be out the money. Shame on Delta.

8:10 AM The ground transport vouchers to Laguardia, are good for 1 person and for 25 bucks. The cost per person to Laguardia, is 38.95 bucks each. The driver felt sorry for us and only charged us for one person.

9:15 AM We just got to Laguardia and checked in. Looks like our flight is on time and going to leave with a full crew.

9:45 AM We just found out that Delta over booked the 7:15 flight and half the people got rolled to our 11:15 flight with priority given to those that were scheduled for those flights originally. Delta just announced that the 11:15 flight might get bumped to 6:00 PM.

11:00 AM after some delay Delta just called us to board. The flight is supposed to leave at 11:15 that isn’t gonna happen. They didn’t call us by zones. No orderly zone 1, then 2… Just a all zones all passengers at once. It’s a Giant cattle call.

11:15 AM We get downstairs and I think we are getting on the plane, but they are putting us on the bus and driving us to another terminal.

11:25 AM We just got off the bus and they are having us board a commuter jet that is so small the jetway can’t get low enough to reach the door. This plane maybe holds 60 people. The seats are so short, my butt barley fits on it. And it’s rock hard. This is going to be an interesting 2 hours.

11:45 AM The captain just told us the flight is 3 and a half hours. This plane must not go very fast. Must be the rubber band powered engines.

12:15 PM The Captain just came on the PA and said we can’t take off because we do not have our flight plan and some other paper work. They are waiting for a courier to bring them to the plane. Once we get them we will take off for sure.

12:45 PM The plane has pushed back about 50 feet and we are just sitting.

12:50 PM The captain just came on the PA and said that they are fixing the paper work and flight plan. When it is fixed we will take off.

1:05 PM The captain just came on the PA and said because we were not a regularly scheduled flight with Delta, there is a ton of traffic on the tarmac and they are trying to figure out where to put us in the line up. As soon as they do that we will take off for sure.

By the way we have been told we can’t get up to use the bathroom, or anything. We have been sitting 50 feet from the gate since 11:30 AM.

1:35 PM we finally push back to the taxi way. I think we are about 5 minutes shy of when they have to ask the passengers if they want to return to the terminal.

4:30 PM we are in Kansas City

5:00 PM Delta lost our bags. They might be in Atlanta.

1:15 AM Delta called. My bags are in Atlanta. They will be delivered between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM.

10:45 AM the bags arrived at the house. Funny the white Suit jacket that was in a garment bag, zipped closed inside a zipped closed suit case appears to have a tire mark across the front of it. Lets see, when I packed it in Nice it was clean. When I got in KC it had been run over by something. Now how did that happen, unless the bag was opened and maybe gone through.

2:00 PM Delta sent an email to Kristy, saying sorry for all the crap you went through. Here is 15,000 sky miles to make up for it. To join the sky club it takes 25,000. to get a free flight in the USA it takes 25,000. Now the sky miles are nice I guess, but based on the experience I just had, I’ll never fly Delta again.

By the way this is what happens when you have a bored guy with a fully charged iPhone, and nothing to do. I started writing this stuff down and just became obsessed with the comedy of errors.