Overcoming the fear factor
Unprecedented may be one of the most overused words to describe the current landscape but it is nonetheless an accurate one. A consumer landscape which risks brands which are unsure of what to say, end up saying nothing at all. With this in mind, Brave’s Paris is laser focused on the learnings from this campaign.
“You have to be reactive, quick and agile, but you also have to make sure your super-speedy solution is not only right and sensitive to an ever-changing situation, but feels fresh and original,” she explains. In practice this means you have to think differently and within a new set of limitations. “You want to be the brand that does the right thing, not the brand that’s being opportunistic,” she adds.
This means that the most important thing in a situation like this is to be true to what it is your brand stands for. A fact which meant the creative team focused on what Flight Centre does, because that is what it has licence to talk about. Paris explains, “As we know, the travel sector has been hugely hit and our ability to travel is off limits for now, so this story had to be our focus.”
The future of travel
This is a campaign which hits all the right notes at a time when it is all too easy to get it wrong; even Hobden admits that the spot chokes her up every time she watches it. Yet, even for the beleaguered travel sector there is no question that silver-linings lie ahead. Not just in terms of demand but when it comes to a reappraisal of the role of travel in consumers’ lives.
As Brave’s Paris explains, “Holidays and travel are not life or death, but we know that for many, it’s a chance of escapism, to break free from normality and experience something new. We also know that in months to come, when the world re-opens, travel will become more precious than ever. So, communicating the positives of that and offering a message of hope felt like the right thing to do.”
It's a sentiment which Hobden shares: “We are ‘resting our wings’ right now and the appetite for travel out of the other side of this is going to be huge.” Post the crisis Hobden expects to see international travel to pick up. She predicts it will feel like a big spike as everyone crams travel in when borders are safe to cross again, but she does not expect the travel to be at the same levels as normal until 2021. She adds, “Some will miss those holidays they were going to take, but others will cram more in; I know I’ll be doing that.”
This campaign is powerful because it gives emotion the same respect as economics. For while much of the travel industry is on hold, it recognises that consumer’s dreams and desire for holidays are anything but. As Hobden explains, “People dream and look forward to holidays. It’s an end point that breaks normality up. People are still dreaming now, and we are seeing that in our web stats; people are spending more time on the inspirational content on our site.”
When those dreams of travel become reality, it will be the brands that recognise, hear and support their customers that will truly thrive. For while planes maybe grounded right now, consumers travel plans continue to soar.