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4 of the Most Inspiring TV Travel Ad Campaigns

Nov 16, 2023
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Get inspired to elevate your destination marketing efforts by revisiting some of our favorite TV travel ad campaigns.

Capture attention with beautiful TV ads

Imagine this: You’re watching your favorite show, a commercial break hits, and the screen opens to a panorama of azure waters brushing up against powdery, white-sand beaches.

Palm trees sway in the breeze, offering their shade to families building sandcastles and playing beach volleyball. Laughter fills the air as children chase technicolor fish in crystal-clear lagoons, while parents relax under colorful umbrellas, sipping from coconuts. A magical sunset paints the sky in shades of pink and gold as families gather around bonfires, sharing stories and roasting marshmallows. 

The soundtrack of a steel drum band sets the rhythm for this tropical paradise adventure, where every moment is a cherished memory in the making. Now that’s what we call travel advertising.

The Importance of Compelling TV Travel Ads

For many years, the interactive and engaging format of television advertising has served as a bridge between the couches of target audiences and the experiences and products that beckon. For the travel industry, it remains a vital channel for marketing campaigns that transport us beyond the mundane and spark the flame of wanderlust. This rings especially true as hotel advertisers, travel agencies, and tourist destinations like Greece and Iceland attempt to inspire people to take more journeys in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s explore some of the best TV campaigns for travel brands that captured our imaginations and inspired us to explore the globe. These ads went beyond raising brand awareness by getting potential customers to follow brands on social media or check out a travel website’s landing page. These are the campaigns and adverts that went beyond selling destinations by painting vivid portraits of adventures waiting to be lived, cultures yearning to be explored, and experiences that felt like destiny.

Expedia: "Travel Yourself Interesting"

Expedia, one of the world's leading online travel businesses, went beyond merely showcasing picturesque destinations in its “Travel Yourself Interesting” tourism ad campaign. These travel ads told stories of travelers discovering their most interesting selves while exploring the world. With a touch of humor and a lot of heart, the campaign encouraged viewers — including magicians — to break free from the ordinary and embark on their own adventures.

Why the campaign was great:

  • Emotion and Relatability: Expedia tapped into the universal desire to become more interesting through travel. Effective travel marketing campaigns often rely on human emotion for this purpose.

  • Memorable Characters: The campaign’s video ads featured quirky and endearing characters that resonated with viewers and quickly created a rapport.

  • Inspiring Storytelling: Each ad tells a unique, relatable, and entertaining story, igniting wanderlust and inspiring travel.

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Airbnb: "Live There"

Airbnb, the platform for homestays and experiences, sought to redefine travel with its "Live There" travel ad campaign. This groundbreaking series of TV ads showcased the idea of living like a local, promoting unique accommodations and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Why the campaign was great:

  • Authenticity: Airbnb's spoken ad copy and visuals resonated with travelers seeking authentic and unique experiences.
  • Diverse Destinations: The campaign displayed a wide range of destinations and experiences, catering to various travel interests and target audiences.
  • Emotional Connection: By highlighting the connections travelers could forge with local people, Airbnb tapped into the desire for meaningful travel experiences.

Tourism Australia: "Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home"

Talk about a clever travel ad format. Tourism Australia launched the "Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home" campaign during the 2018 Super Bowl. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride, the campaign humorously played with Australian stereotypes and the idea of a "Dundee" movie sequel. We’ll be honest, we thought it really might be a movie for a second.

The ad was part of a cheeky travel marketing campaign for Australia, and it effectively showcased the country's stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and laid-back charm. It sparked widespread interest and discussion, turning into a memorable moment that kept playing out across digital marketing channels post-Super Bowl. It’s a testament to trying new and creative tactics while breaking away from tired templates.

Why the campaign was great:

  • Creativity and Humor: This is a perfect ad example for showing how a campaign's comedic approach can make it stand out and go viral.
  • Iconic Stars: Chris Hemsworth's involvement added star power and appeal, and Danny McBride’s turn as Dundee was as hilarious as you might expect. But a cameo from the original Dundee, Paul Hogan? Fantastic.
  • Showcasing Australia's Beauty: The stunning Australian landscapes took center stage, enticing viewers to explore Down Under.

Emirates: "Fly Better"

Emirates Airlines took a different approach with its "Fly Better" ad campaign, focusing on luxury, comfort, and world-class service. The campaign emphasized the airline's commitment to providing a superior travel experience.

Emirates used TV advertising to position itself as a leader in the premium travel segment while still appealing to different types of travelers interested in various experiences, from those with leisurely dreams of Europe to aspiring cliff-diving adventurers. The ads showcased the airline's opulent cabins, gourmet dining, and exceptional in-flight service, inviting travelers to indulge in luxury.

Why the campaign was great:

  • Aspirational Messaging: Emirates tapped into their target audience’s desire for luxury and comfort during travel.
  • High Production Value: The campaign's visuals and cinematography reflected the airline's commitment to quality, and clever, photoshop-style editing created immersive but surprising scenes — the whole ocean held in a glass of seltzer, for example.
  • Building Brand Loyalty: By emphasizing superior service, Emirates aimed to create lasting brand loyalty among travelers.

Inspire Your Next Travel Ad Campaign

These TV advertising campaigns from the travel industry entertained us while providing inspiration to explore the world. They demonstrate the power of storytelling, authenticity, humor, and emotional connection in capturing the hearts and minds of travelers.

As the travel industry continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer preferences, these campaigns serve as timeless examples of how effective TV advertising can showcase destinations, create brand loyalty, and encourage travelers to embark on unforgettable journeys. Whether through humor, inspiration, or aspiration, these travel ads left an indelible mark on our memories and remind us of the magic of travel.