649 days ago

Seen the new Expedia campaign before but by another company? You will have in India

Three weeks ago Expedia revealed its first major new ad campaign in years, replacing the arguably hollow (and linguistically awkward) “Where You Book Matters”.

The new slogan is “Find Yours”.

At the centre of the campaign is the use of consumer generated content – perhaps a throw back to the good old days of travel advertising and marketing where people tried to encourage more travel rather than just trying to steal it from competitors.

The web is well and truly saturated with travel offers but surprisingly limited capacity – as such the market has turned in some sectors (like airlines) from a demand side to a supply side-scarce commodity market. In that situation what’s a marketeer to do?

Expedia is to be commended for taking the moral high ground and trying to rise above it with its new campaign. However, as I was hearing about the new campaign, I felt I had heard this story before.

They say that there is nothing new in advertising (and I used to be an ad man a long time ago!) and, well, the new campaign was just a bit too familiar.

Rummaging around, I found something very similar from a different OTA.

Eureka! The Expedia campaign is remarkably like a campaign run by India-based OTA Cleartrip last year.

Expedia hired 180LA, an award winning creative agency in Los Angeles, California, which came up with this:

At the centre of this campaign is the UGC. But check out the YouTube Channel for ClearTrip and you will see what I mean – this has been done before and quite effectively.

Cleartrip went with the concept of “Every trip has a purpose”, tied into its core principle of making travel simple.

If you would like to see the making of the videos you can go check out its blog on the subject from January 2011.

Do you think that the two sets of messaging appear to be pretty similar?

I asked Cleartrip’s Hrush Bhatt about it:

“Ever since we launched, we’ve been used to being imitated.

“Although, I must say that until now, most of our imitators have been local companies. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I must say we’re flattered to now be imitated on the global stage.”

[It's not the first time ClearTrip has found itself on the receiving end of imitators - check out this snippet].

Nevertheless, more power to both companies (particularly since they cooperate in the domestic India market as Cleartrip has been powering Expedia’s India domestic air product for several years).

But it seems Expedia might be learning about other things than air distribution from its Indian friends.

Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

About the Writer :: Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

Timothy O'Neil-Dunne is a contributing Node to Tnooz and managing partner at travel consultancy firm, T2Impact. He serves as the lead for the airline, aviation and airport practice. He is also a Co-founder of VaultPAD an accelerator devoted exclusively to travel and travel-related startup businesses.

Timothy was a founding management team member of the Expedia team where he headed the ground transportation and international portfolios, before founding T2Impact in 1998.

He has worked in aviation and travel distribution for more than 30 years, including time with Worldspan as head of technology where he managed international technology services from product to infrastructure.

He is also CTO and deputy CEO of Lute Technologies, a permanent advisor to the World Economic Forum and writes on the T2Impact Blog.



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  1. Friday Odds and Ends - AgencySpy

    [...] -We’re a little burnt on the ad ripoff cases, but here’s one more for the pyre. link [...]

  2. Matt

    there was a good inspirational song… typo.

  3. Matt

    Your article is well written. I see where you could make the extrapolation, but I don’t think anything could be considered infringement. If anything, like the man you interviewed said, if the idea was born from theirs, it’s flattering.

    I thought too, however, the ad was different in that their were no people talking, the was a good inspirational song, with only words and video driving home the emotions of those words. I really liked it and thought it was very fresh and a very mature evolution for their brand.

  4. martin kelly

    Can’t see how Expedia has “imitated” Cleartrip after watching the two ads.

  5. RobertKCole

    Both are excellent examples of changing the focus from the travel components to the personas and purpose of the itineraries.

    The Expedia approach is better however because it goes beyond people talking about a trip to showing people actively engaged in the parts of trips that create lasting memories – that emotional connection is the secret sauce that not only drives inspiration, but makes the process much more human and personal.

    The focus on travel bloggers is also genius – it is a very inexpensive way for passionate travel advocates to evangelize various destinations or activities – Again, distancing the promotion of travel experiences from gratuitous ad-driven brands pitches.

    The flexibility of the structure allows Expedia to focus on virtually any niche market from either a supply or demand perspective. The focus is not on deals, but life changing experiences. People are more than willing to pay more for life changing experiences.

    Deals are great and the sheer coincidence of having a clear call to action and booking path on every Expedia page should give many travelers less reason to shop elsewhere.

    I’ve been promoting a seven step travel process for several years – Inspiration, Research, Planning, Validation, Booking, Travel & Sharing. Expedia just moved the focus back a couple slots. If they can capture the individual in the Inspiration phase and manage to retain them through Research (deep site content), Planning (efficient search & itinerary tools), and Validation (authenticated reviews), there is a stronger chance they can capture a booking.

    The world’s largest seller of travel spent the last couple years working on its platforms and is now prepared to emotionally engage with their travelers. Other OTAs and travel sellers should pay close attention to Expedia’s strategy and perhaps be just a little afraid. On second thought, let’s change that to being very afraid…

    The Expedia slogan is really “Find your __________.” They are going to have a lot of fun with their customers playing fill in the blank…



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