Travel isn’t just a product; it’s an aspiration. Selling a destination half the world away is effectively selling the promise of a good time, the dream of a new experience. It’s no surprise, then, that on top of the many standard ads for budget flights to common destinations we’ve seen some incredible ads for travel and products aimed at jetsetters over the past few years. Here’s a selection of some of the most notable:
Booking.com: ‘Be a booker’
Produced by creative shop Anomaly, the ‘Be a booker’ campaign celebrated bookers who turn their travel dreams into reality instead of just pinning, posting and swiping, encouraging travelers to use Booking.com to find their next place to stay.
The campaign highlights traveller-friendly aspects of the process, including the site’s free cancellation policy.
“The amount of travel content that is consumed by people dreaming of travel is higher than ever,” said Pepijn Rijvers, chief marketing officer at Booking.com. “By creating a community of ‘bookers,’ Booking.com is aiming to celebrate the people who take action and empower others to experience the world, no matter where that is. Booking.com wants to inspire ‘bookers’ and as a leading tech company, assure them that we’ll do all the work to take the friction out of the travel process to help them plan their trip in a seamless way.”
Thomas Cook: ‘The Man Who Always Wakes Up in a Different Bed’
This campaign from holiday company Thomas Cook played on the anxiety that can be felt by travellers unsure of the quality of their next hotel. The surreal nature of the campaign, anchored by a video directed by Ben Wheatley of Moxie Pictures, sought to highlight the comfort blanket-like security of knowing exactly where you’ll be laying your head that night.
It’s a quirky idea, and one that’s bound to resonate with anyone who’s ever had a bad hotel experience abroad i.e. everybody. Unfortunately, despite the undoubted quality of the campaign, Thomas Cook collapsed in September 2019, leaving other holiday companies like TUI and Fosun fighting over the scraps.
Despite that, the campaign is an incredibly well-executed and highly produced piece of work, and probably deserved a happier end.
Virgin Holidays: Trending Travel Guide
As the articles in this issue demonstrate, holidays are no longer the preserve of the people on them. Instead, thanks to social media’s omnipresence, there are countless ways to experience and even plan holidays based on other people’s Snaps, Instagram feeds, Twitter reviews, and more.
The Trending Travel Guide from Virgin Holidays, put together by digital agency Forward3D, is billed as ‘the world’s first travel guide curated through the power of social media’. It recognises that authenticity is paramount for promoting the experience and products of travel, and aims to promote other travellers to the position of authority.
At the time James Libor, senior manager - media, digital and brand partnerships at Virgin Holidays, said: “We knew conversations about travel experiences were happening at scale and that there is heavy reinforcement of recommendation through social proof. Essentially, we felt that the power of thousands of individual experiences and suggestions aggregated together could be a hugely beneficial reinforcement."
‘Go Back To Africa’
By Black & Abroad
Hardly anything is as powerful as turning the rhetoric of hate back on itself. That’s exactly what cultural collective Black & Abroad does in its latest ‘Go Back to Africa’ campaign, rehashing the derogatory phrase to instead encourage black clients to travel to the African continent.
Appropriating the racist phrase through the use of #gobacktoafrica, the collective encourages its audience to consider the beauty of destinations in and around Africa, and asks that visitors use the hashtag to promote that beauty on its own terms. It earned a Cannes Lion Grand Prix for its efforts
Eric Martin, co-founder of Black & Abroad, said: "We're proud to be changing the conversation during a time of global unrest by showing more diverse pictures of this rich continent and debunking negative myths and stereotypes. We encourage others to get involved and rethink how they're influencing or reinforcing negative stereotypes instead of positive actions."
NTUC Income: ‘Play It Safe’
Getting cut through with consumers is hard enough even for desirable, aspirational products. Getting people to pay attention when you’re selling something they’d rather not think about at all is even harder. That was the challenge facing Singapore-based insurer NTUC Income, when they set out to put storytelling back into travel insurance.
Enlisting the help of its creative agency BBH and Google, it used YouTube's Director Mix to create 500 different variations of six-second bumper ads with different 8-bit characters suffering accidents in various locations.
Marcus Chew, Income's chief marketing officer, said: “In six seconds, we need tell them one or many parts of the story and with Director Mix, we can use the search results to create almost over 500 permutations of the ad. For example, if you search beach holidays and Boracay, at the back you will see the Boracay visual example and show things like food poisoning.”
APT: ‘Live Fully’
By: Town Square
When we think about travellers, we tend to think of people in their early twenties with enormous backpacks and ragged clothes. When we think about holidaymakers, we typically imagine families, stressed, running from airport to hotel and back without any time to relax. Typically, though, we don’t tend to think about baby boomers when we picture travellers. That’s a situation that travel brand APT set out to remedy with their ‘Live Fully’ campaign, which focuses on younger boomers.
The campaign, which coincided with the brand’s telecast sponsorship of the Australian Open TV coverage, aims to showcase the experiences of luxury travel, and incorporated television, cinema, digital, print, and social. As if to hammer home the idea of reappraising who the potential consumers of travel really are, the campaign feature’s Major Lazer’s song ‘Get Free’, which isn’t necessarily a song you’d associate with that generation.
As with the other examples in this issue, the reality is that travel and travel marketing is an incredibly broad discipline. The trials and tribulations of travel are available to everybody – but so too are the rewards. This campaign reminds us of that (and that you’re never to old to visit new places).