Airbnb and TBWA Floated a House Down the Thames

Lots of earned media for this stunt.

In the very definition of a high-profile media stunt, Airbnb and its advertising agency of record, TBWA, floated a house down London’s Thames River this morning at sunrise.

Interestingly, the event was less a promotion than a victory lap. Here’s the company’s UK/Ireland general manager with more:

As the company noted in the video, Queen Elizabeth herself recently signed legislation designed to “update the rules [of housing] for the digital age of the 21st century” by eliminating regulations that discouraged London residents from “sharing” their homes in the interest of earning a little extra money.

There’s another reason for celebration; from the press release:

“Airbnb has experienced significant growth in the UK and in the last year alone recorded an 86 percent increase in properties listed on the site.”

Of course, there’s a promotional element to the stunt as well: parties of up to four can win one night on the floating house at Airbnb’s expense.

The company almost seems determined to kill the fun with these restrictions:

  • No swimming in the Thames.
  • No Floating House parties.
  • No floating away.

…but the campaign has already proven its worth in earned media.

From Richard Stainer, CEO, TBWA\London:

“Airbnb are an iconic, disruptive brand who want iconic, disruptive campaigns. The floating house is a perfect example of this. Creating it together has been a pleasure and we look forward to many more campaigns of similar ilk to come.”

The men who designed the house then remind us that it is basically a toy:

“We hope that your stay aboard the Floating House is magical.

P.S. Please don’t sink it!”

Indeed.