Shortlisted 2017




Lead Agency


Contributing Company



The Challenge

Airbnb is the antithesis of mass tourism, allowing travelers to live like locals in another place. In the USA, Brazil, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Australia, China and India we needed to build brand awareness and bring the brand benefit of authenticity to life.

Travel should be unique and rewarding—but for most travelers, the experience has become an impersonal and inauthentic slog through the same places, the same activities, and the same staged photos. In an effort to make the planning process more straightforward and convenient, the tourism industry has turned travel into a commoditized experience for the masses. Most travelers are mere
tourists, visiting and viewing destination at an arm’s—or a selfie stick’s—length.

Airbnb is the antithesis of cookie-cutter travel. With Airbnb, travelers aren’t confined to the same standard thoroughfares and tourist traps. Instead, with help from their Airbnb host, travelers can experience a destination as if they live there, immersing themselves in the local culture.

Despite its more authentic approach, Airbnb awareness was still relatively low in the USA, Brazil, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Australia, China and India . For Airbnb’s “Live There” campaign, we were tasked with raising brand awareness and demonstrating to travelers from these key markets that
Airbnb makes people feel a part of the culture in another place.

The Strategy

While many travelers resent tourist clichés, they feel resigned to today’s mass travel experience, left to visit crowded sites from the pages of a guidebook and stand in lines to take the same pictures as everybody else. To inspire people to travel more authentically, we developed a strategy that would show them the difference between two modes of tourism simultaneously.

Our idea was to demonstrate what makes Airbnb special through a side-by-side traveler narrative film. One story would tell the conventional mass tourist experience, the other an authentic Airbnb “Live There” local experience. We would tap into the power of Cinema to gather captive viewers across our key markets, but we wanted to do something more than just run the videos side-by-side.

The Implementation

We launched our ‘Live there’ campaign in Cinema as we wanted to create a powerful immersive experience. In a global first, we leveraged new 3D technology to execute a split-narrative cinematic experience in key markets. Wearing specialized Airbnb bifocal glasses with adapted 3D technology,
moviegoers could see two different versions of the same trip simultaneously, tilting their heads up or down to change their view. Moviegoers could choose between “Live There,” the Airbnb local experience, juxtaposed with “Don’t Go There,” showing mass tourism. Looking down, viewers lived like a local; looking up, they saw what a mass tourist would.

Before our mini-movie began, an on-screen message prompted audiences to put on their Airbnb glasses and tilt their heads to change perspective. Then, our film began by asking, “How do you want to see Paris? How would you visit LA? How about Tokyo? Who do you want to spend time with? And when it’s all over, what would you want to remember?” as moviegoers experienced different ways to travel depending on their chosen view.

We worked with three cinema media companies to distribute our film alongside major summer movie releases including “Finding Dory” in major theatres in the US with NCM, the UK with DCM and Australia with Val Morgan.

The Result

Our split-screen film experiences garnered nearly 30 million total impressions across markets, demonstrating that Airbnb provides a more authentic way to travel. Our effectiveness study showed a 150% increase in top-of-mind unaided awareness of the Airbnb brand among moviegoers surveyed, 70% higher than benchmark. In addition, 74% said Airbnb “helps me feel like a local when I travel” and 72% said Airbnb “helps inspire my travel plans”. 56% said they were likely to sign up on Airbnb’s site, 42% higher than those who
weren’t exposed in the control group (US). In only two weeks, we saw 11 trades pick up the story and 600 organic global social mentions. As one Twitter user put it, “Airbnb did the coolest preshow for Finding Dory… I’m stunned.”