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Name change wins him a year in Berlin

STARTING HIS NEW LIFE: Mr Andersson began his Lufthansa-sponsored year in Berlin at the German capital's Tegel airport on Wednesday.


    Jan 10, 2014

    Name change wins him a year in Berlin


    WHAT'S in a name?

    For Mr Michael Eric Klaus-Heidi Andersson from rural Sweden, the answer is airfare to Berlin, a furnished flat in the German capital's hippest district and a fixed-gear bicycle for local transportation.

    Until recently, the 24-year-old's name was Michael Eric Andersson but, last autumn, he legally added Klaus-Heidi to win a marketing contest by Deutsche Lufthansa.

    He was chosen from 42 Swedes - men and women from across the country - who all changed their names to Klaus-Heidi.

    Mr Andersson gets a rent-free apartment for a year in the southern Berlin borough of Neukoelln, complete with language classes to improve his rudimentary German and domestic flights to explore the country.

    "It's all a bit surreal, but fun," he said in English after arriving at Berlin's Tegel airport yesterday.

    The publicity stunt is unusual for an airline better known for German attributes, such as reliability and a distinct lack of humour.

    The combination of two familiar yet old-fashioned German names provided by Lufthansa aimed to broaden the appeal of the campaign to both men and women while giving it an ironic twist.

    Spokesman Wolfgang Weber said: "Some people said that this would be too weird and the wrong fit for a company like Lufthansa, but the campaign has really hit the spot. The public feedback has been tremendous."

    He said the contest website pulled in 100,000 visitors in the first few days.

    Mr Andersson said he doesn't plan to drop Klaus-Heidi after his year in Berlin is up.

    He said: "I now see Klaus-Heidi as part of my full name. And it's definitely an ice-breaker."