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Hotels.com Buried a Giveaway in the Fine Print of a TV Ad to Reward People Who Paused It

Aired for a week, but not on YouTube

There's a lot to read, and it's actually worth it, in Hotels.com's new TV spot.

Hotels.com has a marketing mission that, as far as client mandates go, is pretty fun: Find surprising ways to use standard ad buys.

For example, earlier this summer the booking site put a twist on Facebook's silently autoplaying videos by creating a very different experience when you watch its ads with sound.

Now agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky is back with an effort that tests viewers' eyes rather than their ears: a TV ad covered in legal disclosure that happens to include rules for entering a sweepstakes. DVR users who pause the ad rather than skipping it will learn how to enter for a chance at a trip for two.

Airing the ad on TV for a week earlier this month, the brand saw about 350 viewers who followed the steps to log onto Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #IReadTheLegalSweeps, according to CP+B.

(The clip below is unlisted to keep it out of heavy rotation, though you can obviously cheat by watching it and following along without ever turning on your TV.)

"We thought it would be fun to make a TV spot that actually encourages consumers to use their DVRs," said Dan Donovan, vp/executive creative director for CP+B. "Specifically to use them to rewind and pause the ad so that they can discover a clue that will reward one lucky viewer for their engagement with a really amazing prize. Hotels.com is always looking for ways to breakthrough in all mediums and this ad is doing that for them in a unique way."

Mike Wolfe, senior director of brand marketing for Hotels.com, says the ad continues the site's goal of bringing a light-hearted and rewarding vibe to a detailed media strategy.

"This year we wanted to challenge our teams to create work that's contextually relevant, looking for unique opportunities within each medium," he tells Adweek. "Last month, we created Facebook videos that worked around the limitations of brand videos playing silently in people's newsfeeds, and we saw a great consumer response with significantly higher engagement rates.

"With this TV spot, we wanted to find a way to add engagement to a traditional media placement, embracing DVRs and their unique capabilities," he said. "Since legal fine print in television is associated with complexity, we wanted to use it in a fun way to highlight the simplicity of our loyalty program, Hotels.com rewards, where staying 10 nights gets you one free."

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