Some people travel so they can find the most relaxing beach, take a vacation and forget the real world exists. Some people travel so they can find the greatest hole in the wall banh mi shop in Vietnam. Some travel to visit family, volunteer with aid organizations or get from one business trip to the next and home again. Whatever the reason, the first step to traveling is transactional. You need a flight, a car, a hotel, and the marketing campaigns that attend to many of these transactions range from touching to purposeful to funny.
The opportunities to employ niche marketing in the travel industry are obvious, but co-branding, user generated hijinks and celebrity endorsements also make their way into many campaigns. In celebration of National Shop for Travel Day, and the cold weather in the Northeast that has many of us dreaming of warm weather vacations, we offer the following five campaigns which effectively captured consumer imagination.
Heathrow Relies on Brand Awareness with Another Heartwarming Commercial Featuring the Heathrow Bears
Launched in 2016 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Heathrow Airport, the Heathrow bears are a sweet elderly bear couple whose commercials air at Christmastime, creating an identifiable brand mascot that consumers are excited to see year after year. The 2018 Heathrow ad featured the bears in their swimsuits at their Florida home, longing for a true English Christmas, which, of course, they decided to embark on. At the end of the commercial, the bears turn into human grandparents, embracing their children and grandchildren, creating a connection for the audience, and reminding them that family is only a plane ride (and a few quality Heathrow Airport gift shops) away.
Emirates and Turkish Airlines Leverage Star Power to Promote Their Airlines
Celebrity endorsements are a tried-and-true marketing strategy and airlines are no exception. Jennifer Aniston leverages her girl next door appeal in this charming spot touting the benefits of both first and economy classes on Emirates. Aniston effortlessly moves between the two sections of the airplane, making them both seem appealing. In another airline commercial, Morgan Freeman, in his usual “voice of God” role, shares his own love of exploring and promises Turkish Airlines is ready to show you the world. When the commercial aired in 2017, Turkish Airlines was struggling in a variety of ways. By choosing a well-known spokesperson, and airing the commercial during the Super Bowl, the airline was able to generate a wide reach for the commercial with a trusted voice at the helm. Turkish Airlines has since collaborated in some fun and interesting co-branding opportunities, continuing to explore a multifaceted approach to their marketing.
Sweden Uses their Country’s Personality in a Unique Brand Partnership with Airbnb
The lushness of Sweden is at the center of this commercial from tourism group Visit Sweden, in a co-branding effort with Airbnb. Sweden’s constitution allows for Allemansrätt, which essentially translates to “the right of public access” for residents and visitors alike, allowing the freedom to roam wherever the day takes them. This clever campaign embraces Allemansrätt, with a proud narrator offering the whole of Sweden as if it were a listing on Airbnb, from the northern lights to the stunning Stockholm archipelago. While it could get a bit pricey to rent a whole country, most visitors can easily find the perfect apartment or house on Airbnb. This effective and smart use of co-branding appeals to the explorer who isn’t interested in poolside cocktails but still wants comfort and beauty from their holiday.
JetBlue Sneaks Up on Its Customers in this Charming Commercial
If you’ve ever traveled on the subway in New York City, particularly during rush hour, stopping for any reason other than at your destination, is not a thing. Everyone is heads down and off to work. This experential commercial from JetBlue rewards the curious. Two cheery Jamaican JetBlue employees set up a mini-faux beach at the bustling Jamaica Station subway stop in Queens, New York, encouraging commuters to stop and relax, learn a little Jamaican lingo, listen to music and have fun. At the end of the commercial, 15 of the passersby that meaningfully engaged were given tickets to (real) Jamaica. It’s a gimmicky bit, but suprisingly touching as the winners cry, laugh and dance with delight when they are given their ticket. JetBlue loves to illicit a reaction and a big heart, and this one was another winner.
Expedia Uses Niche Marketing and Current Affairs to Appeal to Curious World Travelers
Famous travel writers often talk about traveling instead of vacationing — the idea that the world can be seen more authentically if you try and be a part of the community you’re visiting. This Expedia commercial offers much the same perspective, urging its customers to “Travel the World Better.” It’s you, says the ad. You can go to all the places, choose to know the people whose home you are in, do more than visit the tourist hotspots. First, because we have this handy app that books tickets and travel for you, and secondly because you are curious about the world and want to experience it. It’s a seamless blend of humanity, commerce and niche marketing, tapping effortlessly into the current political and social climate around the world.