InceptionOnline travel as a category is extremely cluttered. MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra, Travelocity, TravelGuru, iXiGO, goIbibo, Aarzoo - the list just doesn't seem to end. Marketing communication for online travel is even more cluttered & undifferentiated. Each & every player is talking about essentially the same things - deals, cashbacks, & discounts. It's a race to the bottom to be the place for cheapest deals.
Given this competitive environment, Cleartrip wanted to go out with a fresh communication to break this clutter. We wanted to take a more "human" approach with our communication. Something that connects with customers at a level "higher" than prices & discounts.
With this background & brief, we called for agency pitches to create our TV commercial. I sat through all the pitches. Some were good. Some not so. But, the one that we finally went with, had a brilliant insight - every trip has a purpose. Think about it. Travel is more about meeting your relatives, going for your honeymoon, or clinching that business deal than it's about the price you bought the ticket for. As a travel service provider, we enable our customers to fulfill an actual purpose. To quote Hrush from the Cleartrip blog:
We help sons and daughters go home to visit their parents. We help newlyweds celebrate the beginnings of a new life together. We help students reach their potential. We help businesses grow and flourish. We help artists paint their next canvas. We help wanderers find their path.
And that's why Cleartrip is so passionately dedicated to making travel simple, because travel makes the world a better place. Millions of people travel every day for millions of reasons and our world is a better place for it. Each journey is precious, no matter why you're travelling.
The moment the creative director, Emmanuel, finished reading a couple of scripts around this concept I exclaimed, "Brilliant! It can be extended in many directions and lends itself fabulously to UGC." And that's how the "inception" happened - of a crazy journey towards creating & catapulting the online presence of Cleartrip's new TV campaign – "Every trip has a purpose". Of course the actual execution of the online presence had to wait till the TV ad was shot & canned. But, more on that later.
Go on, first take a look at a couple of our TV ads below.
Now take a look at the campaign microsite and come back for a 4-part series on what went behind the scenes in creating it.
"Pointing North"There's a lot of interesting stuff that can be built with the core campaign elements – real people, real locations, & real stories. However, I was very clear that this was to be a campaign microsite and not a separate beast altogether. Every idea was measured against the following objective:
Engagement with the campaign line – "Every trip has a purpose"
At one extreme was simply the Cleartrip YouTube brand channel as the online presence of this campaign. At the other extreme was a microsite full of features such that it could be spun-off as an independent product.
I was happy with neither.
A simple YouTube brand channel would not do justice to the potential of the digital medium. A complex microsite would be to far off from the simple one-point objective (of engaging users with the campaign line). A couple of really good microsite ideas had to be shelved because of this.
Finally after more ideation, feasibility checks, & timeline checks, here's what we finalized as the engagement tactics on the microsite:
- Ask the user to share his destination & travel purpose – nothing engages more than getting a user to actually 'do' something
- Showcase curated travel purposes (UGC) on the home page & throughout the site
- And finally, engage with actual content around the TV campaign – 75 seconder (which would get limited airtime), making of the TVC, etc.
Designing a contest around the entire concept was a necessity. Immediate user participation in large numbers would only happen only if there were something in it for the user. This is not to say that there aren't ways to drive user participation without incentives, but none which could make this happen within the 4-week timeline we were looking at.
Integrating the entire contest + microsite with social media was not just "buzzword compliance" but a core part of our user-participation & traffic acquisition strategy. More on this in part 3 of the series.
Finally, here's the strategy as an "intelligent looking" customary infographic:
Next up, behind-the-scenes action on the visual design of the microsite.