KLM: Pre-flight social media gifting

With the rise of social media and ubiquitous technology usage, brands how have both an obligation and a massive opportunity to deliver intimate and immediate marketing campaigns.

This use of response-based marketing has been put to good use by brands such as Wheat Thins in the US, who trawled Twitter for fans of their brand, delivering one surprised Twitter user a palette of her favourite snack to her doorstep in a cross town van dash.  Orange has also opted for rapid response promotions such as its musical Tweetagram and Twitter portrait concepts.

Dutch airline KLM recently initiated a similar campaign focusing in on providing something a little extra for its customers. The ‘KLM Surprise’ gifting promotion was born out of the realisation that the airline had a vast number of passengers spending a lot of their pre-flight down time on social media via mobiles and iPads, attempting to while away the boredom.

KLM set up a dedicated team to trawl Twitter and other social destinations in order to identify KLM passengers traveling that day. Once found, the team spent some time getting to know the person – with a bit of non-intrusive  digging around in their profile – in order to match them to a potential gift.

“Since she’s a sporty person and is going to Rome for the weekend, it might be fun to give her a Nike Plus strap”, said a KLM employee attempting to match a gift to one female passenger.  Once the gift had been purchased a frenzied dash to locate the passenger ensued, with the girl both surprised - but also genuinely grateful - for the personalised gift and attention.

Gifts for other customers included app download vouchers, cinema vouchers and even booking some extra legroom for an older female passenger.

It’s a cute idea, and one that presents the brand in a far less corporate light, showing a genuine interest in its individual customers.  Not everyone may like the intrusive nature of a brand profiling their semi-personal data, but for the most part this shows that the brand is at least engaged with the people it serves.

This campaign once again highlights the importance of social listening as opposed to merely blasting out messages via social media and hoping for a response. Social media is a crucial lifeline to a more connected and intimate understanding of consumers and their immediate needs.

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