Art Director

Rich's Blog

What's lacking in Airbnb's latest campaign

I'll start by saying how much I love Airbnb. Having used it for more than a handful of trips over the past four years, I've stayed in so many lovely apartments which have all had such lovely friendly hosts. It's a really great idea, well packaged and has grown up slowly and very nicely since it's launch in 2008. 

Their rebrand last year by Designstudio was some really great work. A great new logo that had a really ambitious idea behind it, and some great tone and strategy behind the brand made it one of my favourite bits of work from last year. Themes of belonging and inclusivity were supported by a marque that "anyone can draw".

I've been keeping a close eye on how the brand has rolled out over the last year and generally have been quite impressed with everything to date. Their social is good, their blog has some good content and their TV has been charming. This video (screenshot above) was superb; it had a simple message and was well executed. "Welcome to Airbnb" it was called which fitted perfectly with the brand strategy. This other ad #OneLessStranger is also fab and explains the service in a warm and story-like way.

However where it has fallen short for me is in a new campaign, currently all over the London tube network which you may or may not have seen, which is really rather uninspiring. Each ad consists of a picture of a view or apartment with the words "Welcome home" over the top and the logo almost forgotten about in a white bar at the bottom. It's taken the message we see in Designstudio's mockup billboard above, but not moved anything on at all. If anything, has taken a step backward; the charm charm has been taken out of it. They don't feature people, stories, the marque. Admittedly, "Welcome home" is a strong, inclusive line, but the execution lacks any sense of belonging or warmth. The Airbnb homepage does everything the advert does, but so much more.

Overall it makes me a little sad, as it's such a wonderful brand, which has such a wealth of wonderful messages, layers and stories to tell, that this campaign just seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity.