Lufthansa ‘New CEO is coming’

Lufthansa, the largest German airline, has published this commercial. It caused quite an outbreak in comments in the advertising world and on youtube itself. Either viewers loved it or hated it. The reason? Quite some people claimed that the punchline at the end was not delivered well and therefore caused confusion. Instead of getting the take home message that the new CEO arrives relaxed so no need to panic, they understood ‘no need to panic, because the new CEO won’t arrive today anymore’. The latter is not something that you’d like your commercial to deliver as a take home message. But which one is actually the really perceived way? 

We thought, how about we try and quantify what the true perceived effect really was with our system. If you haven’t seen the commercial yourself, you can watch it right here.

Our Approach

We showed this commercial to German testers that haven’t seen it before. While they were viewing it, we recorded eye movements, their emotional response through facial tracking, and also their heart rate for changes in excitement. These measures will definitely tell us what the majority of people really thinks and if and when the commercial goes sideways.

Emotion Analysis

Truly interesting is that viewers only had happy as the dominant emotion throughout the commercial. All negative emotions were absent, which is already a good sign that they understood it as intended. From the start, viewers were entertained seeing all the panic within the commercial with spikes in happiness during the phrase ‘they call her the black widow’. The happiness level remains stable and exactly at the point when you can see she is sitting relaxed in the airplane happiness spikes again.

Eye Tracking Analysis

In the video below you can see the eye tracking heat map. It shows what people really saw and the scale goes from blue (little attention) to red (a lot of attention). Throughout the commercial viewers followed the important parts. At the beginning they were scanning around as there was panic shown. During the relaxed part, while the CEO is in the plane, the eyes focused more and eye movements slowed down. From the eye tracking you can immediately see that viewers attended the parts of the commercial that were important to the storyline.

Also, this commercial delivered well regarding Lufthansa’s branding with the ‘Non Stop You’, which has been focused on for 2.28 seconds, the entire time it was shown! Brand recall is also going to be high, because the Lufthansa logo was focused on for 1.92 seconds. That is also the entire time it was shown in the commercial. The outro of the commercial shows social media links that were all clearly seen and focused on for 4 seconds.

Tracking Excitement

The heart rate reflect the entire tone of the commercial. Panic from the beginning and the heart rate goes up, viewers are right in the storyline. But shortly after, it starts to show a trend of decline, even though the panic is still shown in the commercial. Excitement goes up again, when the commercial delivers the punchline. That provides additional evidence that it has been understood the right way.


All results are in line and point towards one outcome: the commercial is perceived the right way! But does that mean there is nothing that can be improved? Yes, there is:

  1. The emotions and heart rate show that from the start viewers are highly engaged in the story ‘feeling’ the chaos. But that effect declines after 15 seconds even though the commercial still shows scenes of panic. This should have been kept shorter to keep the viewer’s engagement and excitement high throughout the commercial.
  2. The Lufthansa logo has been seen the entire time it was shown. It could’ve been shown a bit longer to increase brand recall.

All in all, great commercial!

Start your tracing study today