Consumers are inundated with advertising noise. As a result, travel brands are exploring alternatives to grab attention.
A giant Hotels.com advert on the side of one of the oldest, mix-used buildings in downtown Los Angeles is hard to miss.
Capturing undivided attention is the intent of any advertising campaign, and this one does that, if only by the sheer scale.
Featuring images of Cannon Beach in northwest Oregon and Baja in Mexico, these adverts are hand-painted murals with captions that read, ‘West Coast beauty seeks easygoing beachcomber…‘ and ‘Stargazer seeks underground commuter…‘
“Hand-painted murals are a very rare media option. Every location, every site is a little bit different and has a natural story within that environment,” said Kevin Bartanian, founder of Kevani, the advertising agency that worked with Hotels.com on the campaign.
Grand Central Murals featuring Hotels.com hand-painted campaign. Source: Kevani
“Art means different things to different people, but it makes you stop and reflect and really understand what you’re looking at. And that’s what I think Hotels.com did here,” said Bartanian. “Hand-painted murals give a nostalgic feeling to some brands. It takes you back in time, and it works for certain brands, as it’s artistic and tied to unique imagery that basically looks better in that medium.”
Bartanian said the costs of these campaigns vary and depend on location, and formats such as digital versus vinyl versus hand-painted murals. In addition, the length of campaign flight was an added determining factor.
“If we look at the Hollywood area, for example – the pricing can range from $15k to $100k+ per month,” Bartanian said.
Record Growth in Billboard Advertising
Billboards in sought-after locations like New York Times Square are the most obvious. Still, campaigns placed in locations that capture the attention of commuters alongside highways, at train stations and bus stops are said to be the fastest-growing media channel, according to the latest research from Magna for the Out of Home Advertising Association of America.
Brands are returning to billboards to keep themselves top of mind, with this Hotels.com campaign timed just ahead of the busy summer travel booking period.
Called “Out-of-Home” media by the advertising industry, it targets consumers who spend an average of 70 percent of their time outside of their homes and on the move.
Out-of-home advertising revenue increased nearly 21 percent in 2022, to $8.6 billion, according to industry figures.
Keeping Campaigns Real
It hinged on users providing selfies for 6,700 ad spaces across London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, and Rome.
With its cheeky copy on-brand for young, solo adventure travelers, the intention is to keep the campaign real, featuring “IRL WeRoaders experiencing trips around the world, including Thailand, Nepal, Peru, Cuba, Turkey, Iceland, Jordan, Canary Islands, Morocco,” according to Fabio Bin, co-founder and chief marketing officer of WeRoad.
WeRoad said its billboards play on millennial language, humor and drive to create new experiences with others. Source: WeRoad.
In markets where WeRoad is a new entry, such as the UK and France, the creative focuses on traveling far away while meeting new people through its ‘Grab your backpack, we’ll bring new friends’ creative. In WeRoad’s more established markets of Italy and Spain, the campaign focuses on specific adventures travelers can experience on its trips, asking, ‘Have you ever done…?’.
Out-of-Home U.S. Market Fully Recovered
Travel marketers have also been gearing up for stricter privacy laws, with brands now forced to reveal how they are using consumer data. For example, Google’s Chrome browser plans to eliminate this form of cookie tracking in 2023.
The privacy clampdown could boost outdoor advertising as marketers explore alternative channels.
A Delta campaign for its new LAX terminal on display at The Towers in downtown LA. Source: Kevani
The industry has already caught up with its pre-Covid highs, according to Vincent Letang, director of global forecasting for Magna Global, as part of the research shared by Out of Home Advertising Association of America.
The top 10 advertisers in this space in 2022 were Apple, McDonald’s, Amazon, Panera, Google, American Express, T-Mobile, Disney, Coca-Cola and Universal Pictures.
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Photo credit: Grand Central Murals featuring Hotels.com hand painted campaign. Source: Kevani