HomeAway Allows You to Get into its Commercial

The marketing campaign features a 30-second spot during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLV with a fully customizable experience in which viewers can insert photos of themselves and their properties into a commercial.

HomeAway, Inc. – a leading online vacation rental marketplace – has announced details of its new national marketing campaign, which officially debuts on Feb. 6, 2011.

Designed to communicate the message, “Why hotel when you can HomeAway?,” the campaign features the fictional “Minister of Detourism” in a top-secret government testing facility where he highlights the pitfalls of cramped hotel rooms and showcases the benefits of vacation rentals – privacy, space and freedom.

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In the 30-second spot, a family is seen in a “hotel room simulator,” where they suffer from “limited space syndrome” and struggle to get comfortable in the cramped quarters.

Then, in a humorous chain reaction, a “test baby” – similar to a crash dummy – is accidentally launched into the air where it ultimately smushes up against the glass of the hotel room simulator before sliding slowly to the floor.

“We used the test baby scene to create a ‘Super Bowl-worthy’ moment that breaks through the clutter of so many ads,” says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway.

“While everyone loves babies and wouldn’t want to see a real infant get mistakenly flung into the air, we hope viewers will get a good laugh from our test baby’s unfortunate flight. The comic situation is used to highlight the fact that families, particularly those with children, could use a little extra space when traveling.”

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An extended version of the Super Bowl ad includes a fully customizable experience at http://detourism.homeaway.com, where users may upload a picture of their face – or that of friends or family – and put it on the test baby before selecting one of three scenes:  “smush” (in which the test baby’s face smushes against the glass), “smash” (in which the baby is propelled through the room’s glass wall), or “catch” (in which the baby is launched in to the air and caught by the Minister of Detourism).

The uploaded face is rendered three-dimensionally and provides three distinct and surprising options, each that are easy to share via email, Facebook and Twitter.

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HomeAway also has a customizable version for vacation rental owners and property managers who list their homes on one of HomeAway’s U.S. sites, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com. 

In essence, they insert their properties in the actual commercial to create a virtual home tour of their vacation rental using Google Maps, photos of their property and the voice of the Minister of Detourism.

The new campaign was developed by Austin, Texas-based ad agency Vendor Inc.

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