The big lesson here is that digital first is the future.
Editor’s Note: This past week creatives from around the world descended on the south of France for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the most coveted creative awards in the industry.
Jesse Desjardins, global manager of social content for Tourism Australia was on hand during the event and he shared his insights below on the most-awarded campaigns in travel. Skift has covered Desjardins work at Tourism Australia in the past, most notably the destination marketing organization’s Instagram efforts.
Here are the travel campaigns that received accolades:
Campaign: Doors of Thrones, Tourism Ireland
Agency: Publicis London
Popular HBO television series Game of Thrones has been a major tourism driver for its filming locations, including Northern Ireland. When the devastating Storm Gertrude took down ancient interlocking beech trees from The Dark Hedges, a location used as “The Kingsroad” in the show, Tourism Ireland had the trees carved to depict scenes from the show. The doors were then placed at pubs and other locations across Northern Ireland to encourage even more tourism dispersal.
A short film about the project was viewed 17 million times, and the campaign reached an estimated 126 million people. The campaign won a Gold “Special Build,” a Silver “Use of Ambient Outdoor” and a Bronze Lion in the Media category for “Use of Social Platforms” for Publicis London and Tourism Ireland.
Campaign: Visit Britain, Expedia
Agency: 180 LA
According to the American Automobile Association, London is the most popular international tourist destination for Americans. But most Americans never leave the city to explore the rest of Britain. In order to encourage dispersal, Visit Britain and Expedia teamed up to shoot five identical films about Britain in separate areas starring separate locals. In each film, the local claimed their area of Britain was the only place a tourist needed to visit in order to experience the authentic Britain.
The dialogue and story were identical, but the small details were unique and showed why each part of Britain is worth visiting. Users could switch between the five locations at any time using arrow keys, swiping or even using the mobile phone gyroscope, allowing them to see selections from the entire country. Users received curated recommendations based on the places they focused on the most, and could book directly on Expedia with just a click.
The campaign showed strong business results. In the first six weeks, bookings, overall sales, and revenue all increased, including 128,000 incremental bookings, a 6% sales increase and $1.6 million in revenue from bookings to Great Britain. The campaign won a Gold Lion in the Cyber category and a Silver Lion in the Digital Craft category and a Bronze in the Mobile Category for Websites as a Product/Service for agency 180LA.
Google Sheep View, Visit Faroe Islands & Atlantic Airways
The Faroe Islands is one of the smallest and least well-known countries in the world. How poorly known is it? Google wouldn’t even come there to shoot Google Street View of its roads. With a population of fewer than 50,000 people and a shoestring budget of $280,000, Visit Faroe Islands and Atlantic Airways needed a big idea. And with the help of Liquidminds and Sansir, “Google Sheep View” was born. 360 cameras and mobile phones were strapped to some sheep that were left to wander, and the resulting footage was uploaded using Google’s own API.
The beautiful nature and unique perspective were a winning combination that got pickup in publications such as The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, Skift, and more, generating two billion impressions and an estimated public relations value of $50 million. This campaign won a Gold Lion in the overall PR category, a Silver Lion for PR — Content Led Engagement and Marketing and a Bronze Lion in the Cyber category.
Campaign: TRUMP, Royal Jordanian Airlines
Agency: Memac Ogilvy Advize
In 2016, United States presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the U.S. How could the national airline from an overwhelmingly Muslim country turn this into a positive? Royal Jordanian Airlines succeeded with a satirical topical campaign across many platforms that included a sale on tickets to the U.S.
The campaign increased bookings to the U.S. by 50 percent and had a 750 million organic reach with no budget. Literally, none; the campaign submission literally says “Zero Dollars Spent. Nothing. Nada.” And zero dollars was enough to win the team a Bronze Lion in the Direct category. Royal Jordanian Airlines has since doubled down on this strategy, mocking first the U.S. laptop ban and then United’s treatment of its passengers. Read more detail about its overall strategy developed by Memac Oglivy here.
Campaign: Out of Office Travelogue, Qantas
Agency: The Monkeys
Many studies have shown that people are most likely to travel based on tips from friends and family; it’s the principle that many social media strategies are based on. Searching for a new way to leverage already existing content, Australia’s national airline Qantas and its agency The Monkeys created the “Out of Office Travelogue.” Travelers logged in with their email, entered the dates they would be out of town and hashtagged any photo they wanted to use with #qantasoutofoffice.
Their out of office messages were then populated in real time with their happy snaps. People who received these emails could then book trips to that destination from a link in the email. Qantas launched this effort by bringing Instagram infuencers to luxe Hayman Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Over 10,000 Out of Office travelogues have been shared to date and the program has been endorsed by Instagram. This campaign won a Bronze Lion in the Direct category.
Campaign: Cinema to Go, Air France
How many times have you been frustrated on a flight when the flight ends before the film you’re watching does? Air France, which arguably has the best movie selection of any airline in the world, aimed to fix that problem and increase awareness of its cinema offerings. Through the Air France “Cinema To Go” program, 10,000 passengers were given an iTunes Gift Card that directed them to a selection of movies that matched the Air France library. Passengers could then finish the movie they’d started onboard. Every time the program was announced, the entire cabin of the plane applauded. It’s now being rolled out across the whole business.
Campaign: Until We All Belong, Airbnb
Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne
Australia has not yet legalized same-sex marriage, and Airbnb wanted to bring the debate back into the public consciousness. To do this, Airbnb and Clemenger BBDO created the Acceptance Ring, designed by Marc Newson. It’s a ring with a gap in it to symbolize the gap between opposite-sex and same-sex marriage rights. The aim was to have the ring worn by people across the country and beyond the LGBT group in order to show the widespread support for same-sex marriage.
The campaign was executed with less than $50,000 of paid media and ignited through an influencer program. Airbnb also brought on board major Australian or Australia-based companies like ANZ Bank, Qantas, eBay, Foxtel, Fairfax Media, and more, all of which supported this program which tied in to Airbnb’s core desire to foster inclusivity around the world. The campaign won a Silver Lion in the Media category.
Campaign: Brad is Single, Norwegian
Norwegian Air capitalized on Brad Pitt’s divorce with a special offer from London to LA, with the headline “Brad is single.” This print ad won a Silver Lion in the Print and Publishing category.
Campaign: Drag, Drop & Go, Cheapflights
Agency: Uncle Gray
More people than ever before are traveling, both domestically and internationally, for events. How to capitalize on this trend? Cheapflights and agency Uncle Grey designed an ad banner that allowed users to drag-and-drop the headline of the article they were reading. The banner then used multiple APIs to serve up a flight price to that event. In order to increase effectiveness, the banner was contextually targeted to appear on articles about sports, art and music events in relevant publications.
Rather than promoting a destination, the campaign focused on bringing people to the specific experiences they were already interested in. It also delivered on Cheapflights’ brand promise of “smart search made simple.” This campaign won the Silver Lion in the Direct category, a Silver Lion in the Media category, a Silver in the Promo and Activation category for Use of Digital Platforms and a Bronze Lion in the Cyber category.
Campaign: Quest to Legoland, Legoland Florida Resort
Legoland and agency VML used GPS data to create interactive adventures on mobile phones for families on a road trip to the theme park. Once a user enters their starting location, the app plans a route to Legoland featuring 60 points of interest, each of which has an activity. These points of interest are drawn from over 5,000 across the United States.
These and other points within the park are integrated into stories developed for this implementation. Users go through one of four stories, but because they can encounter thousands of landmarks within each storyline the experience is entirely individual and unique to each person. In the Mobile category, the campaign won the Silver Lion for App Games and the Bronze for Activation by Location. It also won a Bronze Lion in the Digital Craft category.
Campaign: The DNA Journey, Momondo
Agency: Agency: &Co./NoA
Fighting prejudice is a huge and serious issue – but not too big for a travel brand to take on in a small and inspiring way, which is what Momondo did with their brand film “The DNA Journey.” Momondo interviewed 67 people about their prejudices toward others, then offered each participant a DNA test so they could explore their own personal heritage. 16 of them were then filmed exploring the results and their own personal and surprisingly diverse genetic heritage; many learned that their ancestors were from the peoples they were prejudiced against.
The campaign also included a contest in which customers could win a trip to all the countries in their genetic heritage. Instead of focusing on the social macro level, Momondo changed the perspective on prejudice to a micro-level to make the issue personal and contemporary. The brand also changed the slant, paying tribute to diversity and highlighting the things that unite us rather than fighting against what divides us.
The campaign’s organic reach demonstrated that Momondo had tapped into something compelling. Out of the 394 million video views across Facebook, YouTube and Momondo’s site letsopenourworld.com, 98% were organic. Those views drove 13.8 million engagements.
The campaign won a Gold PR Lion, Travel, Transport & Leisure; Silver PR Lion, Multi-Markets Campaign; Silver PR Lion, Business Citizenship/Corporate Responsibility; Silver Film Lion, Non-fiction Series; and Silver Film Lion, Short Non-fiction Film (under 10 minutes) Bronze Film Craft Lion, Casting Bronze Cyber Lion, Travel Category
Most awards for advertising creative focus only on the work. The Creative Effectiveness award is given on the basis of some kind of measurable results driven by the campaign — business results, cultural change or a brand purpose. To enter in the Creative Effectiveness category, the work has to have been on the Cannes shortlist sometime in the past three years, allowing people to revisit the work and see its effects over the long term.
It’s great to see two of the big winners in travel made a comeback at the festival including a Gold and Grand Prix.
Campaign: The Swedish Number, Swedish Tourist Association
The Swedish Number was highlighted last year in Skift’s report on the 5 Big Travel Winners at Cannes, and it was back again this year, winning a Gold and Silver Lion in the Creative Effectiveness division.
The goal of the Swedish Number was, perhaps surprisingly, not primarily to increase tourism to Sweden. It was to increase membership in the Swedish Tourist Association (STF), which is tasked with both domestic and international tourism and had seen a decline in membership among younger Swedes. Research uncovered that Swedes love to speak with pride about the many amazing destinations in their country to foreigners, but are much less likely to speak about these destinations with each other.
How better to get Swedes to talk about the destination than to have them staff a phone number where they’d be connected with random international people with questions about the country? The Swedish Number got Sweden as a travel destination highlighted in the Swedish media in an unusual way — by generating press in foreign papers which was in turn covered by Swedish papers. Through the campaign, STF saw increased memberships in the coveted 16-25 and 15-30 age groups and also generated 9.324 billion media impressions. The campaign was developed by agency Ingo.
Campaign: Van Gogh’s Bedrooms: Let Yourself In
Agency: Art Institute of Chicago — Leo Burnett Chicago
This winner of the Grand Prix and Silver Lion award in the Effectiveness category was also featured in last year’s review, and is also a tourism campaign with a local spin. While the renowned Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) is beloved and frequently visited by tourists to Chicago, it’s been largely ignored by locals who consider it intimidating; only 25% of paid visitors were locals. The AIC needed to show that they were a welcoming place — and how better to show people they’re welcome than invite people to stay over?
As part of their exhibition on Van Gogh’s work, the AIC recreated the artist’s bedroom as part of the exhibit and then put the room up on Airbnb. It was the most successful exhibition the museum had in 15 years — but most importantly, that success was generated by local attendance, which was up 97% and provided the majority of the visits. It was the first time in a decade that the majority of visits had come from locals. The ROMI of the campaign, developed by Leo Burnett Chicago, was $4.07:1.
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Photo credit: Expedia and Visit Britain won an award for their campaign that encouraged travel beyond London.