CP+B Hid a Contest in the Legal for Hotels.com

By Erik Oster 

Early last month, CP+B launched a series of autplay ads on Facebookthat made clever use of the format’s automatic muting of such videos. In an ad which ran on broadcast earlier this month, the agency found a way to play with that format as well.

A 15-second spot utilized the legal copy most people ignore as a way of instructing viewers on how to enter a contest for a chance to win a trip for two. Near the end of the brief spot, Captain Obvious tells viewers “…most of this legal copy is just instructions on how to win a free trip” as the small font appears onscreen. Aside from super-speed readers, viewers would have to utilize their DVRs to rewind and pause the ad to follow the instructions, which, along with highlighting the simplicity of the brand’s reward program, was the point of the stunt.

“We thought it would be fun to make a TV spot that actually encourages consumers to use their DVRs,” Dan Donovan, vice president, executive creative director at CP+B explained to Adweek. “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.”

“With this TV spot, we wanted to find a way to add engagement to a traditional media placement, embracing DVRs and their unique capabilities,” added Mike Wolfe, senior director of brand marketing for Hotels.com. “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.”


So did anyone put in the work needed to enter the contest? According to Adweek, around 350 viewers followed through with the process, meaning the contestants will have a better shot at the grand prize than with most brand giveaways.