KLM Watches Traffic Take Off


KLM Airlines is harnessing the influence of YouTube star “Mr. Safety” to fuel a promotion touting the airline’s reach to exotic destinations.

The promo, designed by branded entertainment studio Madison Road Entertainment, is the latest to link a brand to an “Internet famous” star with a built-in audience.

Forget E.F. Hutton: When the Chocolate Rain dude says, ‘Go do this,’ his people listen. “Web stars have an uncanny ability to drive action because of the rapport an audience feels with them,” Madison Road Entertainment’s managing partner Jak Severson said. “The cost to have 8,000 people do anything on TV? It wouldn’t be worth it.”

The driver for the Dutch airline’s promo is for viewers to help Mr. Safety (aka Cory Williams) pick a honeymoon destination. KLM gave him a trip to any of its destinations as a wedding gift but will upgrade it to business class if fans go to its Web site and choose one for him. Three days after it went live last month, the YouTube teaser had 150,000 views, and 10,000 people rushed to KLM’s site to help him plan his trip. In its first experiment in social media, KLM’s traffic has already jumped 19 percent.

The contest goes live Oct. 13, when Mr. Safety posts a follow-up video from his vacation spot. This clip directs fans to the KLM site to participate in the “Picture Me” promo, where they will have the tools to Photoshop their image—much like that popular Internet squirrel meme—into a travel poster featuring sights in Africa, Europe and other destinations and forward to friends and family. The top five vote getters win prizes; one will win two tickets anywhere KLM flies.

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