Skift Take

Lufthansa’s primary message, “Diversity Wins,” communicated in such a light-hearted and celebratory tone, quietly asserts the brand’s value of acceptance, and its disagreement with some of Qatar's discriminatory stances.

German flag carrier Lufthansa recently launched an advertising campaign around the FIFA World Cup. As part of the initiative, the airline published a one-minute video short called The Great Swap. A camera swoops around distinct cities, airports, streets,and landscapes, showing the alleged biggest jersey swap of all time. 

Although the ethics surrounding this World Cup are questionable, this is a fun, fast-paced ad, which was published November 9, and is of a type that we haven’t seen much of since March 2020. While many of the ads of the past two years focused on reconnection, with an underlying message of health and safety, this ad doesn’t even touch on the pandemic, which is a relief.

“Football connects. Lufthansa brings us together. All of us.” That’s the concluding message of the video with the hashtag #DiversityWins

The message “Diversity Wins” is a values-based message that alerts customers that Lufthansa stands for acceptance and does not agree with some of Qatar’s discriminatory stances against certain groups. The campaign politely avoids an overt response to allegations against the host country that could create a politically charged situation.

Of course, Lufthansa is just one of the dozens of giant, global brands releasing campaigns around the tournament. AdAge curates the FIFA World Cup Commercials released by sponsors here.

Lufthansa is the official airline of Germany’s men’s soccer team. The airline flew the team’s players, coaches, and support staff to Dubai, earlier this month on an Airbus A330, painted in a designated “Diversity Wins” livery. To commemorate the FIFA World Cup in Doha, Lufthansa also released a special edition duck — given as a souvenir to travelers visiting its First Class Lounge or First Class Terminal in Frankfurt — wearing a blue jersey with a white headband while holding a soccer ball.

Where Sports, Travel and Work Meet

Travel builds connections and empathy, and the World Cup puts those affiliations on a large scale.

While Lufthansa is aligning with the global diversity at the World Cup, this major event is also the embodiment, or a prime example, of the Great Merging that we write about often at Skift — in which the silos of business and leisure travel get broken down.

Many of the fans traveling to Doha will partake in a mix of leisure (attending games), business (either local meetings or remote work), and visits with family and friends.

These kinds of blended trips are part of the continued strength shown by the premium leisure travel segment driving travel demand for Lufthansa. 

In fact, Lufthansa’s busiest days of the week are now Thursday and Sunday, Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr said in the group’s third quarter earnings call in October, as a result of a shift in travel patterns towards more blended trips.

This demand is part of what drove Lufthansa’s decision to embark on a 2.5 billion ($2.5 billion) upgrade to its onboard products, including more premium seats.

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Tags: advertising, business travel, corporate travel, DEI, digital nomads, diversity, fifa, leisure travel, lufthansa, marketing, work from anywhere, world cup

Photo credit: A screenshot from Lufthansa's The Great Swap advertisement promoting diversity and inclusion.

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