Lufthansa Passenger Airlines has rolled out a digital-only campaign in the hope of connecting one million Indians worldwide this Diwali. The brand custodian talks about the campaign, the new-age traveller and why India is a strategic market for Lufthansa.
In July last year, German airline Lufthansa launched its first-ever television campaign, 'More Indian Than You Think', with an aim to convey that it understands and respects Indian culture and its many nuances. With one of the country's biggest and brightest festivals, Diwali, a month away, the airline brand has unveiled a global digital-only campaign to remind customers of this relationship.
Conceptualised and executed by MRM//McCann India, #DiwaliSurprise gives participants a chance to unite with their loved ones by registering their wish on the microsite and getting a chance to win tickets for Lufthansa flights.
The campaign offers three avenues for users to participate - 'Light up a heart', where participants can register their wish to win a ticket for themselves and their loved ones; 'Illuminate a plane' where a user's wish will add light to help create a digital marvel of a Lufthansa 747-8 illuminated in Diwali lights. With interactive and live technology, users will also be able to view the 'Wish Network,' a live map where their wishes will light up the countries of the sender and recipient. The campaign includes a 'Light up a life' dimension in the spirit of Diwali, where users' wishes will help brighten a child's life.
As per an online survey done by the airline among its target audience, between September end to early October, 2014, Lufthansa's brand awareness shot up significantly, resulting in growth in unaided brand awareness by 6 per cent (up from 22 to 28) and aided brand awareness by 7 per cent (up from 80 to 87).
'Diwali Surprise' has been rolled out simultaneously across 80 countries and expects participation of one million Indians worldwide, informs Sharma. On the brand's strategy to go all-digital for this campaign, she says, "We have been early movers in the social/digital media space. India is the only country other than US with an independent social media presence (a Lufthansa India YouTube channel and Facebook page), and we control our content, campaigns and also the quality. Sometimes our quality ratings are even higher than the global page."
Sharma believes that to execute the campaign at the intended scale, social media is the key. "You cannot reach people across the globe no matter how much you advertise. Even a great asset will be wasted without the right media mix," she states.
In addition to having an independent social media presence, India is also the first and only Lufthansa market worldwide to have a local television commercial. When asked how important the Indian market is, Sharma exclaims, "If Lufthansa doesn't fly to India, all other markets will stop breathing."
"India is a gateway to Asia and a strategic market for us. The number of Indians travelling between US, Europe and India is huge. We began with just one destination in India and today we are flying to five cities, including double dailies from Delhi and Mumbai. It's a dynamic and growing economy, and we are also growing along with it," she adds.
Although, the corporate and leisure segments form the core of Lufthansa's India business, the brand has constantly strived to reach to out to new customers and hopes to achieve the same with this campaign. "Until five years back, there used to be different seasons such as peak and shoulder, in the travel industry. With the coming up of the new age traveller, for whom travel is all about discovery, the crests and troughs have vanished," Sharma points out.
To appeal to this new TG, the 'Diwali Surprise' campaign, and Lufthansa's promotions in general, include a lot of influencer-driven activities; one of the influencers being popular travel writer/blogger Shivya Nath.
"It was surprising to see that Lufthansa India doesn't have a presence on twitter and is hence missing out on engaging with the participants directly," he states.
According to Khan, the first-mover advantage will help Lufthansa in breaking through the Diwali clutter, but the challenge will be to sustain interest and conversations for over a month. "Considering that Diwali is a month away, we can expect to see a gradual amplification in video views. The campaign is designed to capture leads and it seems they'll achieve a sizeable chunk in this duration," he opines.
Appreciating the aesthetics of the video, Ajeet Shukla, senior creative director - FCB Ulka says, "Emotion as an insight always works with Indians. While the idea of being with your family on festivals is not new, this commercial with its unique voice over and good music has the potential to stand out." However, he thinks that the ad is not very strong in terms of casting and acting.
Shukla also points out that because, today, most people book their tickets online, a digital campaign is the right way for an airline brand to engage its customers.