“When the only thing that matters is being together, why not bring the holiday to a Vrbo vacation home—somewhere with more space to get even close to the people you love? That’s a terrific line and a good idea for another time and place. In this time and place, Americans are being asked to stay home in order to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. A fact which makes this ad campaign stand out, but in all the wrong ways.
“Your together awaits.” Correct, it does await the widespread distribution of a vaccine.
“That Look” Is Not A Good Look
When advertising makes patently false claims, it ruins the ad and damages the brand. The “look” described in the following commercial does, in fact, happen well outside the Vrbo experience. So why claim otherwise?
No Masks, No Social Distance, No Good
Here’s another spot from Vrbo and their agency partner, Crispin Porter & Bogusky. This one showcases a bridal party.
Now, the brand has left the family vacation and entered into a real danger zone. The bridal shower above looks great on film. In real life, you’d be looking at a dozen women from a dozen families. Thus, the potential exposure to COVID-19 for each guest would multiply exponentially.
Add A Safety Message (It’s Not Hard To Do)
Vrbo would be a tough account to have, today. Any travel-and-tourism account would be. The brand and the agency need to promote travel at a time when travel is not safe.
Hi David, We recommend using your best judgement when considering booking a trip during this time. We count staycations and road trips with just your immediate family as vacations too! Let us know if we can help with any ideas.
— Vrbo (@vrbo) December 28, 2020
My main problem with this campaign is how it lands incongruously. People all over the nation chose to stay home for the holidays. It was a sacrifice made by millions. Vrbo’s ad campaign fails to recognize this and seems to be saying that there’s another class of people who are free from these sacrifices and the burdens endured by the rest of us.
With all the divisions we have in this land, do we really need another one? Those who take vacations, and those who do not, is not a division I am prepared to recognize.