Campaign trail: Expedia group advocates getaways over gadgets this Black Friday


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As the mark of the two years since the world’s first COVID-19 travel bans draw closer, some vacation buyers may want to travel freely again. Some may even wish to transport themselves to the picturesque landscapes often depicted on television screens seen in catalogs. It is this observation that triggered the new Expedia Group marketing campaign, which focuses on a 15 second video depicting a quiet beach on a television screen. The camera zooms in and a voiceover asks, “This Black Friday, do you want a TV or do you want the spot on the TV?” “

The hero spot and larger campaign, aptly named “Black Friday,” aim to reveal the feelings of adventure, discovery and rejuvenation that most consumers have missed since travel stopped in 2020. Developed with l creative agency Anomaly, the multimedia campaign launched this week in the United States and will run until Cyber ​​Monday (November 29).

While Black Friday is typically aimed at retailers and a weekend of mega-sales, Expedia Group hopes to capture some of that spending demand with its own efforts that link its three flagship brands – Expedia, Vrbo, and Hotels.com. – for the first time. time, advocating escapades rather than gadgets.

“This idea comes from consumer behavior over the past year, where many filled their homes with unnecessary things to fill up for the moments they missed,” said Hector Muelas, senior vice president of global creative. Expedia Group. “With the world slowly opening up again, we wanted to remind consumers that travel experiences are more transformative and meaningful than a TV, for example. “

“Tricks versus experiences”

The hero spot will appear on digital video and television, while digital out-of-home displays (DOOH) in shopping malls are set to reach shoppers when they are looking for freebies, subtly urging them to choose travel over knick-knacks. According to Whitney Ruef, Creative Director at Anomaly, targeted pre-roll, display and social ads with the same message will “hijack” online holiday shopping searches, appearing before and alongside popular device reviews.

“We tried to make it as contextual as possible, with digital signage in malls and YouTube pre-rolls. When people are looking for things like ‘best new flat panel TV’ or ‘best new camera’ or ‘best new tablet’ then click on any of those review videos we run the ad before she gets into that video, ”Ruef said.

Together, the work is part of a promotion for Expedia Group’s Black Friday sale that offers 30% off hotels. TV spots and a takeover of the Washington Post homepage will drive viewers to the Expedia-branded website, while Vrbo and Hotels.com will also appear in OOH and digital ads.

Expedia Group is looking at all consumers participating in Black Friday, but especially those considering big-ticket tech items this year, according to Ruef.

“This versus experience stuff seemed like a really interesting place to play at the moment, especially with the last couple of years we’ve had to sit in our homes and rack up stuff,” Ruef said. “The world is opening up a bit again – and Black Friday is so about stuff – but maybe we don’t need that this year. Maybe we could do something else with that money. . We could have an amazing trip to see friends or to get away for a while, which we all need, I think. “

Jump on demand

“Black Friday” is one of the first projects between Expedia Group and Anomaly and comes as the parent company’s three flagship brands capitalize on renewed travel demand. Research on Expedia and Hotels.com increased after announcement that vaccinated foreign travelers could enter the United States from November 8. Vrbo reported that vacation homes for December started booking in July.

The sister brands joined forces earlier this month to publish an experiences gift guide segmented by comparable prices from popular gadgets, like a two-night Vrbo stay in Naples, Italy for the price of a $ 300 smartwatch or a treehouse rental in Texas for the price of fine jewelry.

“This is the first time that our brands have come together on a time like Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday to tell a bigger travel story. We are looking at the experiences and the sense of discovery and escape that we all missed and that we can offer travelers through our brands, ”said Muelas.

The “Black Friday” campaign also comes in the wake of the new look of the Expedia brand. The online travel agency in April presented a new website, updated product specifications and a substantial marketing campaign featuring actor Rashida Jones. The update focused on design and user experience, in hopes of helping the brand differentiate itself from a multitude of competitors.

The travel group’s new experience-focused message avoids supply chain disruptions, which suffocate retailers and brands as the hectic gift-shopping season accelerates. At a time, flight cancellations due to personnel issues received significant media coverage this fall, as some consumers are still hesitant to travel due to uncertainties over COVID-19.

“We wanted to make sure with this campaign that we weren’t preaching too much to anyone or being too forceful,” Ruef said. “The space where we felt comfortable playing [in] was asking people the question rather than saying, “OK, guys, it’s time to go back. It’s time to travel ‘because for some people that is not a possibility at the moment. “


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