Connecting Seats

DDB, Amstelveen / KLM / 2018

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is in the business of bringing people together: it unites families, friends and other relations all over the world.

KLM wanted to use the days around Christmas to communicate a message of unity, togetherness and sharing. A message that would touch people, create sympathy for the brand and would contribute to KLM’s brand purpose ‘Moving your world by creating memorable experiences’. A message that had to reach as many people around the globe as possible through ‘earned media’, since KLM’s media budget was limited.


Airports are some of the busiest places in the world, crowded with people from different backgrounds. But because of language barriers, passengers tend not to make human connections while waiting for their flights.

We created ‘Connecting Seats’: 2 seats that translate every language in real time, allowing travellers with different languages to talk to each other. With this experience, we set out to bring random travellers together during the Christmas season.

The Seats yielded some warm and emotional chats, in which people exchanged views on the world and holiday greetings. Travellers from over 30 countries put their phones or books aside and opened up to each other. The best moments were turned into a social video.


Primary target audience: air travellers who depart, land or transfer at KLM’s home base Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Secondary target audience: people (worldwide) who fly regularly (2 flights or more per year) to a destination abroad: 25+, social class A or B, people with a good job and a busy social life.

Because of KLM’s wish to generate earned media effects, we decided the best way to accomplish this was to develop a striking brand experience that would touch people.

Because of the cultural differences we had to deal with, we needed to come up with a concept that would appeal to just about any person in the world, no matter their (cultural) background. Our story around connection/unity taps in to a universal feeling.


The Connecting Seats > The seats were designed to rest your head in the centre, with speakers on each side. A directional microphone facilitated the audio connection. The Connecting Seats used Google’s Cloud Speech, Translation and Web Speech APIs to translate every language, including multiple dialects.

Social content > Because of KLM’s ambition to reach as many people as possible worldwide, we decided to focus on a social video of the experience that people would love to share. We sent a press release to media that focus on digital trends and seeded the video on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and Twitter.

We concentrated all our efforts in a single week around Christmas.


• 20+ million views.

• Number of shares and comments above benchmark with 110,000+.

• 95% positive response on social media.

• Emotional connection on social video scored well above benchmark.

• Global media coverage by authoritative media such as, PSFK, Yahoo! plus shared by Google Europe on its social channels.

• Amongst the 10% best scoring KLM content

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