Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Sep 6, 2016

Lufthansa suggests that German quality is a form of filial piety

In its first campaign localised for China, the airline addresses an aloof, efficient image with a story about family ties.

A businessman son gets into his cab-driver dad's vehicle without knowing it. But the bond between father and son has been so weak that the son doesn't even recognise the father's voice, so he atones for it with...a flight on a German airline.

It's not a gift idea one might immediately think of. But then this is not the kind of ad one might immediately expect from a German airline. 

However, Lufthansa, producing a China-specific campaign for the first time, knew the problem with its own brand image in the Chinese market: too cold.

The airline has been working on changing its image for the past three years, aiming to grab market share from national airlines like Air China and China Eastern, which the locals prefer.

Lufthansa's agency, WE Marketing Group, dug into a main regret of the arising middle-class, born in the 1980s: not enough quality time with their aging, sacrificial parents.

"We also observed that bringing parents for long overseas trips is a prevailing trend," said WE Marketing Group’s managing director, Kenny Wong.

While Lufthansa, and German brands in general, are not normally thought to be warm or emotional, the traits normally ascribed to them, being efficient and highly organised, work in their favour.

With this in mind, WE developed Lufthansa’s first campaign localised for China, which includes TV, OOH, video pre-roll ads, mobile, cinema and social media. Centred on the father-and-son story, the campaign rests on the Chinese virtue known as “孝 xiào" (fillial piety), which is all about the children’s duty to care for their parents in return for the care given when they were young. 

"What better way to pay back their parents with 'German quality'? This insight is vastly different from Lufthansa's global campaigns, which dwell more on flying experiences, destination discovery and in-flight services, added Wong.



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