Though Lufthansa has served India for over 50 years it continues to be viewed as a strict, no-nonsense German operator in the region. But the carrier is spending a lot of money to change the way it is perceived. And it is reaping results.
Last year Lufthansa launched its first ever country-specific customized commercial, “More Indian than you think”, which went viral on social media. On last count, the video had received more than 1.7 million views on YouTube alone. And it continues to be telecast in primetime on popular news channels in India, giving it continuous exposure.
The commercial follows the journey of a grandpa and his grandson changing their preformed opinion about the airline through their inflight passenger experience (#PaxEx).
In the two months following its release, some 898 tickets were booked on Lufthansa, and an internal survey pointed to a “definite correlation” with the commercial, Lufthansa’s South Asia director Wolfgang Will tells RGN.
While Will would not discuss details about Lufthansa’s budget for this effort, he says the idea was to change Indians’ perception of Germans primarily for the economy-class segment “as business-class passengers know us well”.
Introduced before the launch of Airbus A380 service to Delhi last year, Will says the advert “helped us in demand marketing of our flagship A380…after all 520 seats had to be sold”.
Now with A380 winter service being launched at the end of October to Mumbai – the venue for the shoot of the commercial – seats are filling up. Lufthansa is also getting more bang for its buck as it taps not just passengers from India, but also the Indian diaspora which numbers over 20 million spread out across the world – the majority based in Lufthansa’s top markets that include the United States and Europe.
A microsite for the campaign – which can be read in English and four Indian languages – links to Lufthansa’s website, and drives further engagement. To date the microsite has attracted over a million page views and 552,039 visitors. Will says this “helped us in creating empathy with the product and more demand”.
He adds, “We are perceived as no-fun, precision-oriented, punctual, insular. We are more than that. We wanted to show our emotional side. Now you will find a touch of India at every step of your journey… The commercial is not just a commercial, but a story. It (also) shows Germans can laugh at themselves.”
According to Will, serious efforts have been made to back the promises made in the advert with respect to #PaxEx. “This includes a choice of Indian meals, Indian crew, and local films on board.”
Lufthansa flies to five Indian destinations 47 times a week (67 including partners Swiss and Austrian). Will says the carrier would like to increase its destinations in the future.