For decades, travel advertising efficiency was based almost exclusively on creative content. Over time, technology came into the fold and brought with it solutions for consumer targeting, ad delivery and results measurement. Today, creative and technology work together harmoniously to drive overall brand goals.
After many years in this business, I would argue there's no better medium than video — with its fusion of sight, sound and motion — for evoking strong emotions and creating a memorable interaction. Combining the power of video creative with the precision of data targeting, advertisers can drive fast results for efficient budgets.
Here are four examples of leveraging video to tell a story in a way that no other medium can—and the data strategy to tell that story to the right person.
1. Creating tension, conflict and resolution.
Visit Mexico recently released their “Doppelgängers” ad, featuring two workaholics that never vacation. The two are shown doppelgängers of themselves taking dream vacations and are faced with the realization that they’re missing incredible opportunities. In the end, the doppelgänger actors give the two workaholics tickets to take an all-inclusive vacation to Mexico. In only three minutes, the ad walks you through a range of emotions, ending with emotional resolution.
Using geographic data, this advertiser could focus on people in cities with airports convenient to visiting Mexico. Combine that location knowledge with a customer segment of travel enthusiasts and the campaign could achieve some fast results for immediate revenue.
2. Tugging at our heartstrings.
A few years back, Canadian airline WestJet created a Christmas-inspired campaign called “WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving.” Before passengers boarded their flight, they spoke with Santa and told him what they’d like for Christmas. Then while they were in flight, the WestJet team purchased and wrapped all of their gift requests. Passengers arrived to find their gifts waiting at the baggage claim carousel. The whole stunt was recorded and edited into a five-minute video, which received massive critical acclaim for its heartfelt message and next-level branding building.
While this ad could easily serve as a brand-building tool, it could also reengage past customers or people using competitors. With first-party data, WestJet could show the piece to people who have previously booked with the airline, but not made a purchase for a while—or people with recent purchases for competing airlines.
3. Entertaining us through humor.
Thomas Cook’s “Be Bold,” an award winning TV ad, used humor to appeal by highlighting a child dancing feverishly by a pool. The ad used a fun call to action—be bold while on holiday—and would have been impossible without the power of sight, sound and motion to bring users in on the experience.
By using past-purchase segments and and financial data, Thomas Cook could target this ad high-income professionals that have taken vacations in the last 12 months—honing in on people with the highest propensity to convert.
4. Selling experiences rather than products.
Expedia has created a series of "vacation guide" videos on their website, which highlight the beautiful destinations of places like Brazil, Hawaii and Australia. By selling experiences on the front end, their product becomes the product on the back end. It’s a storytelling strategy that pairs perfectly with video content and a complimentary advertising strategy.
This kind of story-telling marketing is ideal for consumers who have a strong interest in exotic travel. In this situation, Expedia could lean on consumers that frequently consume content on The Travel Channel or Discovery. By implementing a converged strategy, they could complement their TV buys on those channels with targeted digital campaigns to exposed audiences.
Humans are hardwired for stories and, through storytelling, we can relate to and understand the world around us, process information and connect with our values.
As video becomes the undisputed champion for telling brands' stories, advertisers will need to be ready with data strategies to reach the right audience.