Expedia.ca responds to angry feedback with new ads

January 24, 2014  |  Michelle DiPardo  |  Comments

Tormented tweets lead to tweaked creative

A television ad highlighting the most annoying aspects of a typical Canadian winter may have worked too well for Expedia.ca’s target audience.

“Escape Winter: Fear” caused a stir on social media when the frequency of which it aired proved to be too much for some viewers.

The ad depicts a father being frightened by a howling snowstorm outside his home, and a variety of other winter-related occurrences indoors. The spot was set to a screeching soundtrack reminiscent of Psycho that turns out to be his young daughter practicing the violin.

Its heavy rotation during the World Junior Hockey Championships on TSN last month caused some Canadians to beg for a reprieve on Facebook and Twitter with comments such as “I need a vacation from your commercial” and “Absolutely obnoxious.”

Grip Limited, Expedia.ca’s lead creative agency, quickly responded to feedback by creating “Violin” a sequel that shows dad tossing the offending instrument out the door. “Violin” (which launched at the beginning of January) replaced “Escape Winter: Fear” and will continue running until the end of the week, when a new and unrelated “Escape Winter” TV spot will launch.

“We decided to show that we’re actually hearing people and respecting what our fans have to say. We used it an as opportunity to turn it into something positive,” said Rich Pryce-Jones, creative partner at Grip Limited.

“We like the original ad. It was tested in focus groups and everybody liked it. It was intentionally supposed to be jarring. We just didn’t realize it would be on so much.”

A third video, “Violin Red Band,” was also created and sent out to every person who had submitted comments online via personalized Twitter and Facebook posts. This time, the father smashes the violin to bits and throws the bow angrily across the lawn. Text that says “This moment of tranquility is for…” appears on screen, followed by the screen names and comments of every person that complained about “Escape Winter: Fear” online.

A fourth video, airing only on You Tube, takes the strategy one step further. In “Violin Smash” an Expedia.ca representative travels to the home of Cam Charron, who had tweeted “Can your next commercial spot be 30 seconds of somebody smashing that shrill violin?” to give Charron the opportunity to do just that. It concludes with the line, “To all of our passionate fans like Cam – we’re listening. And hopefully that’s music to your ears.”

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