Creative Travel Marketing Travel

Ad of the day: Orbitz encourages LGBTQ+ consumers to ‘travel as you are’


By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

April 6, 2021 | 4 min read

In anticipation of the post-pandemic travel boom, travel search giant Orbitz launched a new national campaign today encouraging LGBTQ+ consumers to travel as their authentic selves.

Two men laughing while walking and holding hands

20 years after its ads encouraging LGBTQ+ travelers to "see the world on your terms," Orbitz is still championing inclusivity.

The campaign, "Travel As You Are" — concepted and executed by full-service creative agency Laundry Service — invites all people to travel on their own terms, not the ones society created for them. The campaign's film features an all-LGBTQ+ cast and spotlights real couples, with well-known faces including model Ahmad Kanu, the Vietnamese-American photographer, actor and model Cameron Lee Phan and fashion blogger Rahquise Bowen. Behind the lens of the energized, bright film is LGBTQ+ director and photographer Cass Bird, who has worked with major fashion brands including Dior and Calvin Klein.

“Authentic representation in advertising is extremely important,” says Carey Malloy, director of brand marketing at Orbitz. “And the LGBTQ+ community is extremely diverse, so we really wanted to show members of the community traveling freely and being exactly who they are.”

The campaign’s theme song is a cover of Lesley Gore’s 1964 hit You Don’t Own Me by experimental Brooklyn-based gay musician Serpentwithfeet. The lyrics nod to the freedom and empowerment that Orbitz hopes LGBTQ+ travelers will feel when planning their next trip.

’Travel As You Are’, though decisively contemporary, also serves as a homage to Orbitz’s roots. Orbitz was the first major US travel brand to launch advertising campaigns featuring openly gay couples as well as drag personalities with its 2001 print ads supporting LGBTQ+ travelers to “see the world on your terms”.

The brand has a rich history of LGBTQ+ allyship; its advertising and marketing efforts have not only highlighted LGBTQ+ celebrities but have often commented on major social and political moments, including the 2015 decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 2019.

With ’Travel As You Are’, Orbitz reaffirms this allyship. “We wanted to revisit the values that the company was founded on and we also wanted to drive a deeper relationship with a smaller group of customers,” says Malloy. “We were the first travel company to launch a dedicated LGBTQ+ microsite – and that was way back in 2002. Today, almost 20 years later, we strongly believe in advocating for inclusion and diversity in travel.”

Two women laying on hotel bed holding hands

As the US population becomes inoculated against Covid-19, rates of travel are already on the rise. “We are really energized by the progress in distributing the Covid-19 vaccine,” Malloy says. “I think we’re definitely going to see a return to travel.” Orbitz hopes that as the world begins to open up to travel again, consumers of all identities and backgrounds will feel empowered to take on the world authentically and unapologetically.

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