In 2013, Lufthansa Airlines was in a price war with other airlines on its busiest route – Stockholm to Berlin. To change the dialogue – and shift the focus away from pricing, Lufthansa created a viral promotional campaign challenge called “Are you Klaus-Heidi?”
Now I must come clean and say that this is one of my favourite campaigns ever – and I’m not sure why. Maybe the opportunity of a new life for a year in one of the world’s coolest cities is a private fantasy we all share – but in exchange for something so significant as our names, that’s a big ask. And maybe that it was it became viral.
It certainly is one of the most successful viral campaigns as measured in exposure. Without any paid advertising it achieved
- 42 people legally changed their names to Klaus-Heidi
- 240 million impressions
- Covered by major news outlets in over 30 countries
- Was included in 25% of Lufthansa’s mentions in social media.
- Main traffic driver to Lufthansa’s website, second to Google.
However, did the success of the campaign change the profitability of the Airline? It’s true that the campaign did create a strong emotional link between Lufhtansa and Belin but was this strong enough that customers would pay more to fly on the airline?
It’s difficult to say – as price and tickets sold were not supplied as a measure of the success of the campaign.
Certainly, it did change the dialogue. Lufthansa owned the Belin experience in Sweden in the minds of Swedes (and the rest of the world during this campaign). But if they were unable to break free from the pricing of their competitors should we as marketers consider it an effective campaign?
Like all things in marketing it depends.
We don’t know what Lufthansa’s goals were in launching this campaign.
But as this the busiest and most price competitive market – one can assume that they wanted to move away from price-cutting and start charging more than their competitors and fill more of their seats at higher prices to Belin.
And while Lufthansa may be emotionally linked with Belin in Sweden – does this have any affect to their bottom line? Does being emotionally linked to a brand guarantee that you’d pay more for it – when essentially its offering is identical to its competitors in the market (transport from Stockholm to Berlin).
If viral campaigns as this one do not have an effect on the bottom line – what value do they have other than entertainment?
If there isn’t an increase in revenue for Lufhtansa (and I’m not saying that it didn’t just that we don’t know) should we consider it a successful campaign?
How should we measure the effectiveness in viral campaigns when they are not directly about making a sale?