LOVE: KLM’s Brilliant 100th Birthday Ad

Filed Under: KLM, Videos

Yesterday KLM celebrated their 100th birthday — they claim to be the oldest airline in the world, so happy birthday to them! They’re looking quite good for their age, eh?

KLM had a lot of festivities surrounding this milestone, though most exciting to me is the new brand commercial they released for this special occasion. It’s called “To More Memories Together,” and it’s about three generations of KLM flight staff.

I don’t want to give anything away, so please do yourself a favor and check out the 90 second ad, and I’ll share my thoughts below:

When I started watching this ad I wasn’t expecting to be touched, or for it to be that great. But it made me feel oddly emotional. And as I watched it over and over, I fully started to appreciate why.

This is a brilliant ad on so many levels:

  • I love the extent to which it depicts the various eras of flying, and also how far commercial aviation has come
  • I love how this depicts family, and it’s such a reminder of how quickly life passes us by
  • Most importantly, though, I love how this shows the positive social change in aviation, and how KLM chose three generations of women for this ad, with the third generation being a captain — awesome!

This ad made me both emotional and put a huge smile on my face. Very well done, KLM!

Do you love this KLM ad as much as I do?

  1. Fantastic ad. Despite not being 5*, KLM is one of my favorite airlines. They have great crews and the experience is always very pleasant.

  2. Great video and reminds me of a recent dialogue I had with my Dutch colleague who grew up outside of Schiphol Airport (in the late 50s) when the airport was tiny and flying was still a privilege much less people had access to in comparison to today. Very curious to see how the industry will develop over the next 50 years, especially in terms of automation and systems. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I´m a big fan of KLM, especially of the comfort economy on the 747. For me the best way to cross the Atlantic in Economy.

  4. At least kLM are celebrating a proper birthday unlike BA and their concocted nonsense.

    A very nice film indeed.

  5. KLM is after 100 years still one of the strongest brands in aviation. They are reliable and pragmatic plus every flight has the KLM factor. There is no airline like KLM. When you are flying KLM, even non aviation enthusiasts will experience it as a KLM flight. It’s strong branding.
    The film is strong as well but KLM has a long history of strong commercials. This one is among one of the best.
    Especially showing the development of aviation as well as the position of women in society.
    Well done KLM and happy birthday!

  6. In May 1956 my family, Dad, Mom, sister and I, boarded a KLM Super Constellation bound for Amsterdam flying in First Class. Now a multi-million miler on many different airlines. I have never flown an airline since that so imprinted my mind with what First Class should be. Now the hard products are larger, more comfortable and lie flat and I love all of those improvements, but the service and food have never surpassed that first KLM experience. Happy 100 KLM. You have more than just survived.

  7. Reminds me of the recent podcast on NPR about how racist and sexist the Amsterdam fire department is, and how the efforts to reform it failed. I suspect the same working conditions prevail at KLM, but it’s like in the U.S., people pretend they don’t.

  8. @Ross, how to you equate what is happening in the Amsterdam fire dept with KLM? Is this based on person experience or someone you know? Just curious as it seems a long bow to draw.

  9. Fantastic ad! KLM’s 100th anniversary, and the 50th anniversary of my very first flight on KLM: Barcelona to Amsterdam in August, 1969, aboard a DC9.

  10. @Ross. Posting from a coffeeshop in Amsterdam is often unwise.

    But back on topic and Planet Earth, an excellent job by KLM.

  11. Definitely a great ad, but I think I prefer “To Fly to Serve”, even if BA could be sued for false advertising if they ran it now. There’s just something about the Concorde and the iconic Speedbird 1 callsign.

  12. Wonderful ad. I did see one discrepancy becuase I’m a dork. In the 1975 segment they show the flight attendant coming down straight stairs from the upper deck. Shouldn’t she have descended from a spiral staircase?

  13. I have never truly understood/supported KLM (even though my parents have always been dedicated to KLM since I can remember – dad is Dutch – and they hold Platinum For Life status. They even flew with them yesterday and handed over a bag of birthday chocolates to the captain/crew to wish them a happy birthday), because the flight experiences (due to crew) I personally have had with them (so far) have not been fantastic. Having said that…after seeing that video….I’m wishing them only the best and appreciate the wonderful acknowledgment and sentiment. Very special and moving. Thanks for sharing, Ben. Congratulations, KLM.

  14. Charming ad.
    But, Lucky, basically, I think I know why you liked it. That is how flying used to be.
    The experience now is certainly not all that gliding and glowing excitement with the whole event wrapped in friendly courtesy.
    By the time you’ve stood in one line after another and had TSA plow through your luggage, possibly gotten a lecture about the remains of a water in a bottle, waited in line to find out if you can buy an upgrade to “comfort class,” (‘you’ll have to do that at the airport’), found no place to sit in an overcrowded boarding area, well, some of the glow fades.

  15. How many female captains does KLM employ who are actually piloting and not serving in administrative or training positions?

  16. @ Matt

    Snap! My thoughts exactly. Also in the 1975 bit (glad they didn’t go for 1977), the 747 has 10 windows per side on the upper deck. Didn’t all early jumbos just have three windows per side?

    I liked the twist at the end with the final girl growing up to be a pilot.

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