Brands Behaving Naturally – A Refreshing Experience

Brand Theatre of the Highest Order
Passengers on a recent Lufthansa flight from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt experienced the type of brand gesture most businesses can only dream of.

A Lufthansa flight attendant has won high praise for showing it’s still possible to have fun on flights after engaging passengers in a pillow fight. This video recorded on a passenger’s mobile phone shows the flight attendant tossing pillows at passengers in economy class, who throw them back, resulting in a high altitude pillow fight at 20,000 feet. The flight attendant draws a barrage of pillows from the passengers before retreating to the safety of the galley. The soundtrack of enjoyment is as contagious as the grins on the faces of the flight attendant and the passengers. The passengers cheer and applaud the engagement, completely swept-up in the unexpected and natural energy of this brand experience. Rather than criticize the flight attendant’s behavior, a Lufthansa spokesperson praised her sense of fun. “It’s an example of passengers enjoying themselves… it shows we still offer pillows to our passengers in economy class.” I feel sorry for the poor passengers who paid extra for the business class seats at the pointy end of the plane.

The question is; ‘why do we find this natural expression of fun to be so remarkable for a brand?’

The answer I believe is in the conservative approach most brands (especially service brands) take to managing their brand experiences through the delivery of their brand touch points. That a Lufthansa flight attendant felt the freedom and confidence to express herself through such a natural sense of play speaks volumes for the European airline’s sense of brand. The Lufthansa spokesperson’s official response further underscored the businesses sense of brand confidence. It would appear Lufthansa is one of the rare breed of brands who understand the spirit of their brand and empower their staff to live the brand, expressing the brand’s values and personality through their own interpretation. Whilst free-for-all pillow fights may not be introduced on all future Lufthansa flights, I’m confident this approach to brand will encourage the ongoing enriched expressions of the brand through the many little daily gestures that bring it to life. I can’t think of a single brand experience on any flight I’ve been on, in either economy or business class that could rival this for pure brand storytelling, customer loyalty building, and  life enjoyment bringing.

Lufthansa, we salute you, your brand-worthy flight attendants and your pillows.

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
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Lover of High Altitude Pillow Fights.

12 Comments

  1. Cheers Flamier, I hadn’t seen that video from South West airlines – I love the sledge of the competition at the end. In Australia there’s a similar airline brand called Virgin Blue – I’ve seen one of their flight attendants do the announcement as an Elvis impersonation – that was pretty good. All great examples of brand experiences that raise the bar from the standard brand communications.

  2. Thanks Sue, I couldn’t agree more. The concern is that the brand industry has become spin focused – what can we do to create a brand experience that communicates the right messages to the market – rather than authenticity focused – how can we engage our staff to reflect the brand in a way that is natural and in the end so much more powerful.

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