Why does all travel advertising look the same?
I always look forward to Boxing Day.
Following the festive feasting of the preceding days, there is always a televisual treat on offer, isn’t there?
I‘m not in fact referring to the festival of ‘classic’ movie re-runs that are dumped on us annual by frankly indolent programme schedulers, but to the purely commercial offerings of the travel industry.
As I settle down to specifically watch the ads – pausing and rewinding as I go, much to the annoyance of the rest of the family – I am filled with anticipation:
What new angle will the holiday companies take with their TV ads this year?
What exciting, engaging, emotionally stimulating treats will I be offered to choose from?
How will tour operators use the creative forces at their disposal to set themselves apart from their competitors?
Whose brand will shine and rise above the crowd?
I am always disappointed by Boxing Day.
There are of course exceptions to the rule, but sadly the challenge of differentiation is usually declined, with brands opting for a catchy sound-track when all else fails. This year, Queen reigns supreme.
It is of course true that it is devilishly difficult to create differentiation where little or none truly exists.
Beyond the obvious choices of Domestic v Abroad, Europe v Long Haul or perhaps Package v Independent you have to get quite niche to claim any territory of your own, and even then you’ll have competitors, saying much the same thing.
The problem is that a lot of people are selling the same dream, and they all involve the same broad setting: sun, sand and sea. Even domestic holiday resorts are offering the same promise as companies that will take you to the Med.
The stand-out brands are those that have personality and that show it. And most importantly, build an impression that stays with you, where that personality reflects real brand values, and that link is made clearly and lastingly.
This is the ad that I look forward to, where I can actually remember the company that served it up to me for my post-prandial delectation, the one I want to share with colleagues back at the office. The one that says, “This brand stands for something, offers something different, it speaks to me. This is the brand I should choose.”
There was in fact one such moment for me on Boxing Day. I shan’t mention the brand, but suffice it to say that the ad was booking great.