Link: Click Here
Target: Family Vacationers
Starts with a picture of a father going online to Hotels.com and a voiceover “Looking for a Hotel your kids will enjoy? Send in the experts.” Cuts to speeding black Chevy Suburbans disgorging identially dressed Hotels.com employees in black sweaters and black chinos who proceed en masse to try the parfaits, jump on the beds and swim in the pool (with rubber ducky floaties), giving each other the thumbs-up signal. Voiceover and visuals talk about finding the ‘perfect hotel at the perfect price’ and uses Orlando at $45.95 as an example.
This is a hard-working spot which uses a cute concept (a variation on the Geek Squad theme which you can find in our blog archives from May 23rd) of swarming, anonymous employees doing silly things to make some important statements about the brand.
What makes this spot effective is a relentless focus on the brand and the usability of the product underlying it. The brand positioning is “Best prices for places we actually check out” which is a good one for anyone for whom the specifics about an unfamiliar hotel are as important as the price. The family on vacation theme in this spot is an ideal “stress test” for this proposition – what would be worse than being stuck in a bad hotel with your kids, after all?
Here are a few things in particular to watch for in this spot:
- Great Establishing Shot - as the kids run screaming around the room, mom & dad are looking at Hotels.com online – the tagline “Send in the Experts” coincides with a crisp mouse click and suddenly we’re catapulted to the speeding Suburbans. What works well about this is that we have the problem and the brand very well in hand in these first five seconds of the spot. Beyond that, Hotels.com has actually shown you how to use the service and then connects it seamlessly with the real world. Brilliant.
- Good Consumer Insight Establishes Expertise - life is often about the little things, not the big things and when brands get the little things right, they create expertise. The pseudo-Matrix hotels.com employees tasting ice-cream, jumping on beds and swimming in the pool with the floaties show that Hotels.com really gets that it is these touches that are important to kids. This give thems credibility.
- Hotels.com Steps past Price comparison - it is particularly interesting to look at the brand positioning of hotels.com versus Priceline in their new campaign. Priceline is still – no surprise – all about Price, with the news being that you can now compare prices first. Hotels.com is trying to move beyond the Internet bargain basement by becoming the experts at Hotels. Did you notice that they are not talking about Airline Flights, Rental Cars or any of the rest of the value chain here? Dove (see yesterday’s blog) could take a lesson from this.
There is a big promise being made here that Hotels.com has to honor or this campaign will kill the brand. The promise is that Hotels.com actually does know something about these hotels. Yes it’s nice if they least different features of the hotel on the website, but this spot promises expertise and consumers will demand it. If I’m booking a trip to Washington for a meeting there, Hotels.com ought to help me choose between three or four competing business hotels offering similar rates. They should also let me know if one has particularly good or bad service. That’s what expertise really means.
Branding Bottom Line -
A good spot which will either build or break the brand.