Orbitz Gets ‘Centered’

Mullen’s latest tongue-in-cheek work for Orbitz.com breaks this week, introducing a Travel Wellness Center and the tagline “Travel well” to tout the site’s vacation planning and booking tools and overall dedication to customer care.

One commercial touts Orbitz’s Beach Finder option that helps travelers choose their ideal ocean-side resort. As Wellness Center lab techs look on, a test subject wearing a virtual-reality beach-finder device over his head frolics with bikini-clad beauties only he can see.

In another spot that spoofs therapy sessions, a typical American family (clad in space-age jumpsuits) meets with a counselor about vacation packaging options but dimwitted dad can’t remember the simple mantra: “Hotel. Flight. Together.” In fact, he can’t even get the mnemonic hand gestures right.

“During these economic times, we know we need to be focused on helping customers find new ways to search for and book travel,” said Orbitz of its new ad direction. “Indeed, we know to increase our domestic growth — a key goal for FY 2008 — we need to communicate that we are “the” place online where customers can have tools and service that easily help them “search for and book” travel.”

Expedia was the top travel site with more than 14 million unique visits in April, per Nielsen Online. Travelocity had about 13 million visitors and Orbitz placed a close third with 12.8 million.

Orbitz typically spends about $60 million annually in measured media, and the company’s Q1 2008 outlay was $12 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Wenham, Mass.-based IPG shop Mullen added creative chores in late 2006 and it picked up media duties this week following a review.