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Some viral ads are completely unrelated to anything that actually happens around the product or service being advertised. Never has Johnny Walker Blue inspired two rich actors to have a competition over a boat. But the KLM Airlines ad was loosely inspired by the action of KLM’s own actual Lost & Found team…with a touch of cute puppy added!
While this ad has caused a certain amount of controversy due to people being slightly more gullible than they should, it has still helped to highlight the actual work that they do. If a viral ad does anything for your company, highlighting your actual work should be it!
Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: KLM Airlines Lost & Found
The KLM Airlines Lost & Found service video starts out simply enough – the actual steps that their team takes to reunite items that are left behind on planes with their rightful owners – KLM’s passengers. They show the flight attendants going through the planes, and talk about their actual steps to check social media and seat data to find the rightful owner.
Then the cute happens:
What needs to be established right off the bat is that this is an advertisement. If you’re not taking your grain of salt with this when watching – Hello, and welcome to the real world. There is no dog at the KLM Airlines area of Amsterdam’s airport that can simply sniff your phone and track you down before you leave the airport. This is a stunt dog, used to illustrate the steps the airline will take to help passengers – maybe the humour didn’t translate 100% from Dutch (where KLM is based), to English!
Other aspects of the KLM Airlines Lost & Found service viral ad
What has impressed me the most about the KLM Airlines Lost & Found viral ad campaign is how closely they have tied it to their service. It shows their planes, it shows their check-in people, pilots, flight attendants, Lost & Found team members, and their main airport of service.
The 10,000,000+ views that they have received on this viral ad have not been wasted because of this – you know who the ad is for, and you become familiar with their look and style. Viral marketers must work to include this in their ads. This is something we didn’t get from the First Moon Party ad – they didn’t tell you who the ad was for until the end.
The ad does a pretty good job of highlighting the actual work that the KLM Airlines Lost & Found team does, and the description of the video directs you to the social channels that you can contact them on. The dog takes away from the good work that they actually do:
Thank $%^$(&^ for that. It appears KLM found my suitcase and it will be delivered tomorrow by courier. Can't express how relieved I am 🙂
— Mark Benson (@MDBenson) September 25, 2012
Their team do al this work, only to be replaced by a cute dog who isn’t even really part of their team!
Problems with the KLM Airlines Lost & Found service viral ad
There has been quite a bit of embarrassment around the Internet by those who thought that there really was a dog who could sniff an item, and then find the owner in the airport before they left, especially a hard to train beagle.
This woman sums up the gullible person’s journey upon viewing the video for the first time:
I just went from amazingly happy to amazingly heart-broken in the span of five minutes, all because of the same dog. http://t.co/bkqT7Z0H3r
— Liza Shulyayeva (@Lazer) October 1, 2014
While this has created a certain backlash towards the video, I’d like to chalk it up to Dutch humor not quite translating perfectly to English ears and sensibilities. There’s more irony and jokey-ness in the Dutch being spoken that the bland text along the bottom doesn’t translate very well. Perhaps they could have put the word out over Twitter with our Twitter promo crowd marketing service.
From a marketing perspective, this video fails at showing up anywhere other than their YouTube page. It isn’t on their website, which would be huge as people are looking for the video – why not have it on the website and get people familiar with your service firsthand?
The very bland actual Lost & Found FAQ page could have also used some puppy to spruce it up a bit. This is something that you, as a marketer, need to think about with your viral marketing that does go viral – how are you going to capitalize on this success across your websites? Where can you put it to increase user satisfaction, build awareness of your social platforms, and make your viral ad more than a one off flirtation with your brand?
In a final analysis of the KLM Airlines Lost & Found viral ad, the campaign succeeds tremendously at building awareness of the brand within the video, but there could have been better integration with the actual service being advertised, and better use of it across their website.