Special Report: Turn-of-year campaigns 2016

Special Report: Turn-of-year campaigns 2016

A great TV ad has to grab your attention, keep you engaged, inspire you and provide a strong call to action.

This year, more travel brands are advertising on television than has been the case recently, which is a good sign all round.

Here, marketing expert Steve Dunne gives his opinion on eight of them

Cheapflights 5/5

Cheapflights’ campaign was, without doubt, the best. The ad shows Tom Hardy’s stuntman, Jacob Tomuri, in action-packed sequences around the globe. He talks about travelling the world for his job, and that he has to make his own way – and all his searches start with ‘Cheapflights’. The unusual ad grabs your attention, while the action scenes keep you engaged. The locations are inspirational and the call to action is strong and well branded. You’ll remember who made this ad when searching for a holiday.

First Choice 4/5

First Choice has struggled to stand out from the crowd in recent years, but has returned to the small screen with aplomb. Great production values and a strong music bed, courtesy of The Who’s classic The Seeker, make it an attention-grabbing advert. Filmed in Mexico, it shows a woman seeking the perfect ice-cream dessert, and runs through First Choice’s full offering, from great resorts and pools to fantastic dining experiences. The strapline, ‘Life’s Too Short To Say No’, is a strong call to action.

Jet2holidays 2/5

Jet2holidays’ biggest-ever advertising campaign, which first aired on Christmas Day, aims to bring to life the Jet2holidays experience, highlighting benefits such as its £60 a person deposit, free child places and 22kg baggage allowance. The Jet2holidays branding is strong throughout the ad, while the call to action is clear. It’s a good debut, although telling the story through the eyes of a customer is something the other travel brands were doing a few years back, so it seems a tad dated.

Kayak 4/5

Kayak may be a new name to many, but ‘Sheep Happens’ has placed the brand on the radar of the mainstream market. The ad, featuring dozens of people searching for a holiday among hundreds of sheep with billboards on their backs, illustrates the time involved in finding a holiday. Kayak describes itself as a “travel tool” that will not try “to sell to you”, which will no doubt strike a chord with consumers. The ‘Stop Searching Start Finding’ tagline would make people search out the brand to see what it offers.

On The Beach 4/5

On The Beach went nationwide with its ‘Totally Beachin’ Holiday’ ad. It’s simple – and that’s its beauty. The premise is that people ask if the brand does holidays to Austria. As its name implies, it doesn’t – not that there is anything wrong with landlocked states, the ad says, just that its world is all about fabulous beaches. The brand’s proposition of paying for a holiday by installments up to two weeks from departure and the ease of use of the website are cleverly weaved into this ad, which provides a clear call to action.

P&O Cruises 4/5

P&O Cruises opted for continuity of theme – and it’s a great strategy. ‘Shore Leave’ aired for the first time during Downton Abbey (excellent audience targeting). Again, it features comedian Rob Brydon as a newly converted cruiser enjoying shore excursions in the Mediterranean. Complete with selfies against famous sights and the Bring Me Sunshine musical bed, it is a sure-fire winner for those interested in cruising. I’m not sure it would convert non-cruisers, but it may convert cruisers to the P&O brand.

Thomas Cook 3/5

Since the days of ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it’, the brand has struggled to differentiate itself in the TV advertising stakes, punching way below its weight. But this ad, about a boy dancing by a pool and its taglines of ‘Be Bold’ and ‘You’re on Holiday’, is Cook’s best for years. It debuted before the first showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and occupied TV spots around weather bulletins – expert planning. But there is a question mark over its irritation level, and the call to action could be stronger.

Travel Republic 4/5

This advertisement, with its high production values and strong stand-out style, has put some of the bigger travel brands in the shade. It introduces the viewing public to The Travel Republic – a land of 300,000-plus hotels, and 500 airlines serving more than 650 destinations. Sung in the style of a national anthem by holidaymakers with hands on their hearts, it has real impact, with a strong call to action at the end. If you didn’t know Travel Republic as a brand, this ad would make you check it out.


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