How CogMat Engaged KLM Airlines’ Potential Customers With #LetsGoDutch Campaign

Case study by CogMat for KLM, where the main ideology was to engage the kind of audience that had the purchasing power to buy a KLM ticket, and not those looking to win freebies from the airline

The Client

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded in 1919, making it the world’s oldest airline still operating under its original name. In 2004, Air France and KLM merged to form AIR FRANCE KLM. The merger produced the strongest European airline group based on two powerful brands and hubs – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Retaining its own identity, the group focuses on three core businesses: passenger transport, cargo and aircraft maintenance.

The Agency

CogMat was born in 2010 out of the need to deliver sustainable online solutions. Backed by CMSS, a 14-year old software services company, we consider technology not just our core strength, but one of our foundations. Though we started off as a Social Media Agency, we are now a full-fledged Digital Media Agency, offering a gamut of services to improve a brand’s online life cycle. CogMat is a perfect blend of a creative agency and the best practices of the software industry.

Problem Statement

KLM, on social media, had been engaging with their audience since 2014, using the thought process - “Surprise”. This was achieved by conducting contests some of which had huge giveaways, that in the form of a free ticket to a KLM destination. While this did create traction for the brand, there was a fear that we may be creating an audience base who only engaged in the hope of winning a freebie one day, and never actually becoming a customer.

Coupled with this fear was a concern on how the brand was viewed by the online audience, in a universe where the brand’s competitors gained directly from the positive brand recall of their home countries, many of whom featured in the brand’s name. Having built an amount of recall, the aim was, now, to induce purchase from the target audience.

Identified Objectives

  • Executing a pre-campaign and prepping the audience for a campaign with no free tickets, ‘Let’s Go Dutch’.
  • Creating and executing a quirky #LeaveApplication contest on KLM’s social media platforms to build traction and a pre-buzz for the Let’s Go Dutch campaign.
  • Engaging fans and a target audience who could be potential customers.
  • High Visibility to Action Ratio.

The Strategy/Execution

Considering the strategy in 2015 was to engage people who would be able to purchase our tickets, it was pertinent to first define that audience. Basing the whole campaign on the idea of social commerce, the target was to engage with audiences that would buy a KLM ticket.

The audience was segregated into three categories, after detailed research, that was a mix of young individualistic travelers who travel for fun, the Indian family, and those who travel for a cultural experience and shopping. By leveraging the brand’s Dutch identity, we wanted give away something equally relevant in hope that those amongst the target audience engaging with us would become lifelong customers.

Now, there was a requirement to inculcate more aspects of the Dutch culture, which is fun and is much more casual than the culture of other European nations, reflected by their national airlines. Hence, a communication tone was devised, to both, induce purchase and leverage the brand’s Dutch connection. That is how #LetsGoDutch was born. A campaign, where the airline would “go Dutch” on the price, by offering an incentive to purchase a ticket. This set up a prerequisite that any participant who seriously wanted to engage on our activations would need to be willing to purchase a ticket.

Once the strategy was set, a new communication tone was introduced to the audience via a video. The video was aimed at all three of the above target audiences, who personified their dreams and challenges

This video was paired with a series of #tags and activities, each of which were aimed at connecting with the audience.

The first engagement was called #LeaveApplication, where audiences were teased about the new campaign by asking to create a fun leave application. This was followed by #BeforeFlight, where users were asked how they would have reached the nine select destinations, that KLM was promoting, before flight existed.

Following the launch of the video, the audience was asked to create a dream itinerary for one of the nine pre-decided destinations and why they would like KLM to go Dutch with them in #LetsGoDutch. This was followed by #DeserveToGoDutch where users were asked which one of their friends most resembled the characters in our video (and hence fell into the particular target audience).

The prizes were not free tickets but discounts on tickets purchased to select destinations, buddy tickets and other offers, most of which required a purchase. In this way, the campaign aimed to induce purchase, ensuring we had the right target audience.


  • On Twitter, there were 475 participants and 147 new followers were gained
  • Total impressions made by the campaign on Twitter: 16,898,150, with 4217 Mentions
  • On Facebook, there were 374 entries with 95 unique participants
  • Total Reach: 125,507, Engagement: 11,535, Impressions: 181,042, Interactions (Likes + Comments + Shares): 10,882
  • Total Video Views (YouTube + Facebook): 86,610

As we see from the data above, the #LetsGoDutch campaign not only garnered eyeballs, but it managed to go through the spectrum and engage the relevant audience. The main ideology behind the campaign was to engage the kind of audience that had the purchasing power to buy a KLM ticket and induce purchase of the same, keeping the in mind the brand’s social commerce aim, as well as creating lifelong customers.

This audience consisted of travel and lifestyle bloggers, that not only had a good follower base on their social media properties, but also travelers that would explore KLM destinations. Most of these bloggers and influencers have been featured on various lists that contain names of the top travel and lifestyle blogging personalities.


The one thing that was observed during the KLM #LetsGoDutch campaign is that a brand doesn’t necessarily need to give away freebies to garner eyeballs. Moreover, it was possible as proven above, to induce purchase by leveraging social media. The idea for a campaign such as this, is to create content that engages the relevant audience while creating customers as well.

We have proven that the audience is looking for activities apart from the standard giveaways that have become staple for social media campaigns. What was very exciting was the realization that a customer is willing to buy the brand’s offering to actually be part of a greater travel and social media experience. KLM’s #LetsGoDutch has done exactly that and achieved the desired result.