The legal name of the company is Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij.

Most of us know it as KLM.

Having lived in Europe for a number of years, I'm well familiar with this delightful airline. KLM, formerly known as Royal Dutch Airlines, is based in one of my favorite countries to visit--the Netherlands.

But according to The New York Times, market research indicates that many Americans mistake the Dutch brand for something else, like milk...or a radio station.

Which is exactly why the airline has undertaken a heavy advertising campaign. As reported by The Times:

"The brand has not been so visible, but we want people to know it's an airline, and that it's Dutch," said Christophe Attard, the vice president of marketing for Air France-KLM. "We wanted KLM to reflect the nationality of the country. It's friendly and innovative."

The goal of the campaign, which begins with four separate spots targeted to the online audience, is to increase awareness of the airline in the American market and make the brand more approachable.

John Limotte's Brooklyn-based production company Mustache worked with KLM on the campaign. "It's not a self-flattering or broadly comedic humor, but more of a charmingly clueless approach where stating the obvious is likable," said Limotte.

Other than educating viewers that KLM is indeed an airline, the ads also inform you that flight attendants provide passengers with:

  • stroopwafels, "tiny caramel covered waffles" that are very popular in the Netherlands
  • a tiny collectible house as a souvenir

KLM also wants you to know that they really, really like their passengers. (But not in a weird way.)

I loved the commercial, and couldn't help but chuckle with the big reveal, beginning at the seven-second mark. (If the actor looks familiar, that's American comedian Ken Marino, best known for his role in the sitcom Marry Me.)

But I know not everyone will enjoy this brand of humor. And I'm curious as to whether more find it charming...or consider it obnoxious.

Ironically, I also thought the style of humor to be more American than Dutch--but maybe that was the point.

As long as you remember what KLM actually does, I think it's mission accomplished.

What did you think of the ad? Curious to hear from you in the comments.

Published on: Aug 29, 2016
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