An airline providing a prompt and useful service in a way that warms passengers’ hearts? That’s what it looked like in the video of Sherlock, the investigative beagle that sniffed out a passenger who left her phone on a KLM airplane. Everyone loved it.
It was too good to be true. The dog does not actually work for the Dutch airline, which used the pup in a video advertising its “lost and found” service. The video, released Tuesday, was a viral hit.
“Our main goal is to return lost items to the owner as fast as possible … I really like the fact that we are now getting some help with that,” a flight attendant says in the video. Cue the dog.
Sherlock bounds in, fuzzy ears flapping in slow motion. He frolics through the airport, pausing to take selfies with travelers and ride the baggage claim conveyer belt. One employee calls the dog a “real asset to the company” and says she loves to spoil him. A flak-jacket wearing trainer named “Dirk van Driel” talks about how he socializes Sherlock and trains the dog to do his job.
The video makes the implausible service seem real. So it was a huge letdown Wednesday when travelers discovered that iPhone-sniffing beagles were not the next big thing in air travel.
Evidently that KLM ad featuring a beagle who returns items lost on the plane is just an ad, not real. I HATE YOU @KLM! MAKE IT REAL!
— Geeky Girl Engineer (@gkygirlengineer) September 24, 2014
“To illustrate that KLM goes above and beyond for their passengers, we decided to involve a search dog,” DDB & Tribal, the agency that created the ad, told Mediabistro.com’s AgencySpy.
Alex Herwig, one of the ad’s creators, confirmed to Gizmodo that Sherlock was, indeed, a mascot and “not a permanent member of the lost & found team.”
KLM announced the new lost-and-found service, which only serves customers at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, in a similarly misleading press release that refers to their “tail-wagging secret weapon” and links to the video.
How does the airline actually go about reuniting passengers with lost items? By using obvious methods like cross-referencing seat numbers, phone numbers and public social media details.
Nevertheless, people loved the beagle. And there’s a chance we will see more of him. “You will never know if Sherlock will be making an appearance in the near future” Herwig told Mashable in an e-mail.
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsBayArea) September 24, 2014