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Ethical Marketing: Expedia

Posted by Rebecca on 16/7/2013

 

In a world dominated by constant advertising across multiple platforms, brands are under increased pressure to promote their products responsibly. This week we will be looking at the world of ethical marketing and a number of household brands who have proved that marketing and ethics can go hand in hand.

Second on our list is Expedia, which throughout its fifteen year history has become the world’s leading online travel agency. In October 2012, Expedia launched a new marketing campaign which aimed to rediscover the personal element of travel and raised awareness about a number of key social issues at the same time.

The campaign initially aimed to add an element of personalisation back into the online travel market, which given the increasing popularity of internet-based travel agencies and faceless travel bookings has been somewhat lost over recent years. As many will be able to recognise, the concept of travel is frequently said to broaden the mind, create unforgettable memories and generate an emotional reaction from the experience.

Expedia has tapped into this emotional response with its Find Yours campaign; creating videos focussed on real-life people who have been on not only a physical but mental and emotional journey through their travel. The Find Yours tagline has been adapted to each video; with titles varying from Find Your Understanding to Find Your Strength, each with a crucial message to share, aside from the traditional travel marketing angle.

The Find Your Understanding video documents the journey of Artie Goldstein, who travelled across the country to attend his daughter’s same-sex wedding and at the same time came to terms with her sexuality and found his understanding of her situation and her love for another. The video is heart-rending and down to earth, showing a real life story which can reach out to the viewer and create a lasting impression. Interestingly, the advert does not directly reference Expedia as a brand or a booking facility and is not even mentioned until the end of the video when the Find Yours appears.

More recently, the Find Yours campaign has turned to social media and user generate content; creating a Facebook driven app which allows customers to create their own travel journey using their Facebook photos and travel information before sharing it across their social media platforms.

The Find Yours campaign has not only helped raise awareness of a number of social issues but also helped to raise money for charity. The Find Your Strength advert, which documents the story of Maggie Culpit, a cancer survivor who is seen making a journey to a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where she used to be a patient. The advert was created in collaboration with the hospital itself, and Expedia has matched donations to the hospital up to the value of $250,000; demonstrating that marketing can be used to help others and raise awareness of something other than the company brand.

Expedia has shown that marketing can be ethical, and that by taking the time to engage with real life stories and explore difficult social themes adverts can go further than traditional brand promotion and convey a meaningful and poignant message to the consumer. 

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