KLM’s Hilariously Simplistic New Ad Campaign

Filed Under: Air France/KLM, Media

KLM has just unveiled their latest ad campaign, which is hilariously simplistic. The campaign’s tagline is KLM — It’s An Airline. They’ve launched a site dedicated to the campaign at itsanairline.com.

KLM has long been a quirky airline, and this ad sums that up perfectly. Yes, KLM’s new ad campaign is all about how they’re an airline. And about how they fly passengers. And about what airports are.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the first video they released, explaining how KLM is an airline:

Once you understand that concept, you might be interested to learn about what airports are:

Once you have a grasp of airports and airlines, they’ll also educate you about the people, like flight attendants:

And in case you’re confused about your role in all this, they also have a segment dedicated to the flier:

Here’s the inspiration for the ad, per AdWeek:

The oddball approach stems from a survey that found many U.S. consumers were unfamiliar with KLM, with some mistaking the carrier “for a radio station or a brand of milk,” Mustache CEO John Limotte tells AdFreak.

“We hit on a boldly unambitious idea that got us really excited: What if we just say it’s an airline?” Limotte says. “We talked about reading dictionary definitions of airline terminology. And from there, it evolved into the idea of a spokesperson sharing information about an airline that really doesn’t require sharing.”

A few days ago I wrote about American’s newest ad campaign, which had the tagline “World’s Greatest Flyers.” Their goal was to shift the focus on people and somehow make the bold claim that the world’s best flyers (both employees and customers) choose American. It seemed a bit farfetched, though my biggest criticism was that it didn’t actually tell us why we should choose American over other carriers. Why do the world’s best employees and customers choose American (hint: they don’t)?

On the surface KLM suffers from a similar issue, in the sense that they’re not actually telling us why we should fly KLM over other carriers. That being said, I think this campaign is a little bit different, as it’s meant to be social and fun and create general awareness for the brand, rather than make some bold claim about the airline without merit (hell, all they’re claiming is that KLM is an airline).

I’m not sure how viral the campaign will go, though personally I think it’s hilarious. Then again, I already know what KLM is, so I’m probably not their target audience.

What do you make of KLM’s new ridiculously simplistic ad campaign?

  1. Um…what?

    I love clever ads but watching these was sort of like watching a Warhol film while smoking some cheap weed. Gave me a headache.

    “Many US consumers were unfamiliar with KLM…”

    Really? Perhaps I’m too much of an airline geek but not knowing of KLM is sort of odd. KLM is the world’s oldest airline with a vast worldwide network. And it has a highly distinctive and recognizable visual branding. I guess the Spirit/Allegiant/Frontier crowd may not know of KLM but is that really the demographic KL is interested in targeting?

    Anyway, I hate these bizarro ads.

  2. WOW they suck and not in a good way. I worked in advertising for too long and best I can guess is they are trying to appeal to the 20 something demographic? They certainly don’t appeal to the 50 something demographic. When I think about KLM, I think they have 2 2 2 business class configuration. Thanks but I think I’ll fly someone else. Hey now there is an idea – how about you spend more money on your hard product and less money on expensive stupid advertising?

  3. Kinda reminds me of Toyota’s “It’s a Car!” ads for the Yaris a few years ago.

    I like tongue-in-cheek ads.

  4. The Dutch have a legacy of ads high in the quirk factor (vintage Heineken and Amstel ads would support that assertion) – so this campaign is fitting. Happen to be a big fan of KLM… one of the best ways to get from NYC to Europe in Business Class when I have to lay out cash to do so. Their J hard product isn’t revolutionary, but completely fine for the short trek across the Atlantic. The food is good… but what takes it over the top is the stylishness of the serving dishes, glassware, even cutlery… and, as @Sam says, those darn houses. Yes you can buy them in Delft and elsewhere in The Netherlands, but it is getting and collecting them from the actual flights… some of us are just plain suckers for them.

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