KLM Surprise – a discussable social media campaign…

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When I first came across the KLM Surprise idea, I thought „cool customer service“, „very modern approach“ and „nice use of a Social Media campaign“. It seems KLM engages in how to make their clients happy, how to understand personalized customer service of the future and how to use social media to reach out to their clients one step ahead.

On a second thought, clients could be overwhelmed in a negative way. The approach of the airline might be seen as „social media stal….“. Shall we really use this phrase? Is there some validity in it?

The idea implements all aspects and features of an advertising campaign, and the KLM claim for me seems to be: modern social advertising. Or as the brand puts it: KLM is „committing little acts of kindness because we wanted to discover how happiness spreads“.

Nothing bad about it in my eyes. I like the idea in some way…

Nevertheless, my question is: Is this modern social advertising approach going to far? Is it addressing too much the human characteristics of personality and individuality? Or is it just the modern way of personalized advertising? Some kind of the future of Social CRM?

Know what?! Let’s discuss it! Watch it and give us thoughts….

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12 Kommentare zu "KLM Surprise – a discussable social media campaign…"

  1. Anja am 10.01.2011 10:11 

    i agree, it does feel slightly creepy at first – but on second thought i think by using channels such as twitter, foursquare and such, i choose a fairly public life – so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find traces throughout the web of what i like or dislike – i posted them myself. so if KLM decides to make use of it – fine by me, after all, it was my own choice to pass on all that knowledge about myself.

    what i liked about the campaign was that they took „online life“ into the „real world“.

  2. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 11.01.2011 09:24 

    Interesting thoughts, Anja. And yes, if people decide to make their lives and preferences public, KLM uses those facts in a clever and meaningful way. As long as companies keep it personalized and have the power to keep it alive, then this would be innovative use of Social CRM to provide to customers.

  3. Anja am 11.01.2011 10:21 

    martin, absolutely, i agree! i also think that the fact that it’s ono-on-one makes it likable. in a way it’s similar to personalised advertising, but in my opinion it’s definetley preferable because it takes „personal“ into the real world, making it REALLY personal ;)

  4. Reinhardt am 11.01.2011 11:24 

    Before doing some Social Media Advertising, KLM should try to have an overall Social Media Stradegy including the implementation of SRM to make sure that feedback is guarenteed. Of course the booking-system on their homepage should work too (it often does not! #fail)!! That’s the basic requirement for doing an online business!!!

    Yesterday I’ve talked to an „KLM Heavey User“ who is taking part in an internal KLM community to improve services especially in Social Media. His impression was: They don’t care about their consumers. On consequence is that he does not fly KLM anymore…

  5. Social Media für personalisierten Kundenservice | 342° am 12.01.2011 10:27 

    […] bin ich im Blog von TheStrategyWeb auf einen wirklich interessanten Beitrag […]

  6. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 12.01.2011 11:31 

    WOW! This is interesting feedback, Reinhardt. As I am not flying with their airline too often, I cannot argue about it. But if KLM has a proper social media strategy, does some social media monitoring and don’t follow just the old campaign approach, they should react and comment here. I don’t know why I doubt they will… So, would the right approach be to ask you for the name of that person and then try to get into some personal conversation with you and him (instead of giving him a present maybe)?

  7. Reinhardt am 13.01.2011 19:09 

    You are absolutly right! But I don’t think that they will react on this. As you mentioned before. If KLM does not listen they will never be able to learn und react in the right way. Let’s see if they will respond…

  8. Reinhardt am 16.01.2011 14:17 

    Just look at the comments below the video:

    „Based on the comments, it’s clear that KLM has treated social media as a campaign and not as a channel for improving its relationships and being willing to fundamentally change the way they DO business.“


    There is no more to say!

  9. Amy am 19.01.2011 18:45 

    While I think that KLM did something cool and interesting, I think they missed some opportunities to extend their customer service past the end of the experiment. The Youtube video has over 60 comments, with about 10 of them being negative — and there’s not a KLM representative in sight.

    So sure they got a million impressions on Twitter. But what were people actually saying? Were customers freaked out by the „stalking“? Did KLM see a spike in people booking flights? Was the return on investment worth it?

    I don’t want to take up a bunch of space with my comment, but please check out the blog post I wrote about the KLM experiment, and where it fell flat:


  10. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 20.01.2011 01:12 

    Well observed, Amy. In my eyes -and as you say- KLM missed the vision and ideology of Social Media. No comments on Twitter, none on YouTube, none here… If this is the future of social media in companies, then the question is who fails?! The consumer with all their engagement in social media while having minor impact or the companies… Maybe a different chapter in the future. I am sure consumers will win…

  11. Ist Social Loyalty ein Weg zu neuen Treueprogrammen? « Digitalstrategie am 05.04.2012 09:48 

    […] den Kundendienst eignet, haben wir kürzlich erst hier und hier beleuchtet. Nach den Erfolgen von KLM, Jetblue & Co. fällt auf, das das Thema “Social Loyalty” den klassischen […]

  12. The WestJet Santa Surprise (Video) am 12.12.2013 12:58 

    […] miracles really do happen. I have to admit that the campaign massively reminded me of the former KLM Surprise campaign but still the marketing budget is wisely spend when you can make people share their […]

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