In a Crowded Category, Seduction Stands Out for Hotels.com
Find your perfect somewhere | Miami
Is a celebrity ad still a celebrity ad when you can’t see the celebrity? Hotels.com’s new set of commercials has big name actors voicing the ads, but visually the emphasis is firmly on the hotels themselves – tempting vacation stays in Miami, Palm Springs and Rome.
The ads are a new wave of the travel brand’s “Find Your Perfect Somewhere” campaign, which they developed last year with Weiden + Kennedy Portland, though these new ads were created entirely in-house by the hotels.com team. The campaign has a concept that’s both effective and cute – turn hotel descriptions into personal ads, with the “hotel” wooing their ideal guests in first person voiceover.
With Andy Garcia, Ed Norton and Isabella Rossolini on board, this fresh iteration of the campaign tweaks that concept a little to make better use of the top-tier voice talent. Instead of strictly sticking to the personal ad formula, the ads are more like seductive monologues. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be hit on by a hotel, these are the commercials for you.
Garcia’s sultry growl makes the “Miami” execution funny, distinctive, and even a little bit sexy. It’s helped, of course, by visuals which bring the copy’s promise of a no-strings, indulgent getaway to life and make the Miami location look as attractive as the ad sounds.
On Test Your Ad, “Miami” was the highest scoring of the three ads in this phase of the campaign, landing a 4.4-Star score with audiences, easily putting it in the Top 20 of the entire travel category. “Palm Springs”, voiced by Ed Norton, also hit a 4-Star score, and Isabella Rossolini’s “Rome” managed 3-Stars. All three are a big jump from the scores the brand was posting before the “Find Your Perfect Somewhere” campaign, back in the days of their brand character Captain Obvious. (Fluent Device characters on average make ads more effective for brands, but this was an example of one which didn’t resonate with audiences.)
“Miami” also has a good Brand Fluency rating, in a category where high Fluency scores are very rare (none of the Top 10 US travel ads on Test Your Ad manages to get higher than Good). This is an issue with the travel and vacation sector more generally – in a category where the destinations are the draw, it’s very hard for brands to stand out. That’s why hotels.com tried to establish a distinctive character, and it’s why they’ve now succeeded in creating a distinctive scenario for their ads. With or without celebrity voiceovers, “Find Your Perfect Somewhere” could have many more perfect somewheres to celebrate.