We were appointed as one of the lead global agencies for Icelandair in July 2014 for the development and activation of strategic and creative platform ideas for their Stopover service.

Icelandair is the only airline originating from Iceland, giving it a unique Icelandic offering, both in its geographical position and its character. It is a transatlantic airline connecting 27 gateways in Europe with 16 gateways in North America, through Iceland as a hub. It traces its routes to 1937 when the fledging airline was founded on the north coast of Iceland. Our role is both brand building and to drive traffic to their booking engine to sell flights.

The Stopover service is an initiative Icelandair have been promoting since the 1960s. Passengers on any transatlantic route can Stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights at no additional airfare. The category has become crowded with other airlines offering cheap alternatives. Our challenge was to capitalise on Icelandair’s unique relationship with the country whilst communicating Stopover messaging to ensure that the brand and service remained at the heart. We needed to come up with a big idea, which resonated globally with millennials to drive coverage and interest for Icelandair, not just Iceland as a destination, to ultimately drive footfall and sales.

Our research uncovered that Britons overspend by £17bn per year whilst on holiday due to lack of local knowledge. Canadian travellers are keen to make the most of their short breaks – 26% of 18-24 year olds state they have visited a tourist attraction for no more than five minutes just so they can say they’ve been there and 80% of Americans admit to feeling embarrassed for “looking like a tourist”.

This led us to the insight that passengers are seeking ever more personalised and bespoke travel. This was highlighted in the global research we conducted which gave us a deeper insight into traveller preferences. The findings revealed that consumers want to head off the beaten track, experience local culture and enjoy unique adventures over anything else whilst away. However, they are more time-pressured than ever and people can’t spend hours researching the best things to do and places to go.

On average, we found that 45% of travellers like to chat with locals and make friends whilst away, even during a short break. However, nothing beats the thrill of staying with a friend who actually lives there. Because you know they’re going to go above and beyond to show you the best that city or country has to offer, the inside tips, personal recommendations and hidden hotspots that no guidebook can. But not everyone can have a friend in Iceland, until now...

Our solution was to launch Stopover Buddy, a free service, which allowed transatlantic passengers to request a Buddy as a host for one day. But not just any Buddy, we kept Icelandair at the heart. We knew that Icelandair employees are friendly, passionate individuals with unique hobbies and interests, so who better to help you make the most of your time and help you save money on your Icelandair Stopover?

With this in mind, we ran an internal recruitment campaign to engage with employees and build excitement. This brought out the most charismatic and knowledgeable individuals to apply for the role. Buddies included a heli-skiing captain, a stewardess from Iceland’s Mountain Rescue team and an expert biking Intranet manager. Even the CEO was a Buddy, now that is next level of customer experience!

We developed the concept to drive international awareness, talkability, global coverage and engaging content under the Hero, Hub, Help strategy. But also, to book your Buddy you had to visit the Icelandair website and buy your flight, so traffic increased three-fold during the campaign period.

The content created included, 1 hero video introducing the concept through a selection of Buddy stories, 12 supporting videos of Buddies aligning to passion points, 2 help videos to share practical advice and a hero press image of 12 Buddies with props showcasing a range of activities.


Digital, Social, Content, PR


— 31% increase in Stopover bookings

— £106.1 million worth of global coverage

— 2.1 billion media reach

— 6.2 million video views on Icelandair channels

— 3.5 million earned Twitter reach

— 160,000 transatlantic bookings were made in the period, 39% higher than forecast

— +90% of customers recommended The Stopover Buddies service