Image Source: Calgary Sun.
The now-departed Spanair (2010), followed by Royal Dutch Airlines KLM (2010) and Canada's Westjet (2013), have eased some of the stress of traveling home for the holidays with Millennial marketing gift-giving campaigns.
These days, corporations' intimate exploitation of social networking often causes concern. However, once in awhile, corporations demonstrate that the ever-widening net of integrated information can be used to bring some holiday cheer. In each case, these airlines surprised passengers at checkpoints and baggage claims with surprise gifts off the latter's wishlists. KLM gleaned the wishes from social networking sites:
All this gift-giving was a part of KLM Surprise, the company’s effort to not only connect with its customers on a personal level, but also an experiment in the power of social sharing. Flight attendants browsed Twitter and Foursquare, looking for people who mentioned that they were taking a KLM flight. Then, using the information the customer provided about him or herself on social media platforms, the flight attendants purchased a suitable gift and presented it to the passenger upon his/her arrival at the airport. According to the photos on the KLM Surprise website, at least 40 KLM customers were given gifts.
40 isn’t a staggering number. But news of these surprises spread like wildfire through mentions, tweets, retweets, and word of mouth. In November, the KLM Twitter feed was viewed more than one million times. Not bad for a company that wasn’t sure it could make social media work for them.
KLM did their homework, and made it a priority to seek out their followers and create relationships with them. They created a website and Twitter feed dedicated to their campaign, joined Foursquare, and posted their video on their YouTube channel and the KLM Facebook Fan page. They attempted to start and join conversations on those platforms, and get a feel for what their customers are like.
Westjet, in borrowing a page from this book in 2013, modified the original idea by having passengers tell a virtual Santa Claus what they wanted for the holidays when they checked in. This tactic diminished the unsavoury aspect of the company sifting through passengers' social media accounts to determine their private wishlists.
See more reports here, here, here and here; videos of the gift-giving are below the jump.
Spanair's gifts for passengers (2010). Video Source: Youtube.
KLM Surprise (2010). Video Source: Youtube.
Westjet Christmas Miracle (2013). Video Source: Youtube.