Like many travel companies, Expedia Inc.'s bread and butter is capitalizing on the horrors of winter. Its latest "escape winter" campaign is no exception. Just before Christmas, Expedia Canada launched a new commercial featuring a man looking at snow, scarves and parkas – all accompanied by a Hitchcock-style, screeching violin.
The problem? Consumers hated it.
The ad was in heavy rotation thanks to "bonuses" (extra ad time broadcasters occasionally give for free in order to deliver a bigger audience), according to its ad agency, Grip Limited. The screeching got on some nerves, and viewers lashed out with unflattering comments on social media.
So this month, Expedia launched a reply campaign: buying TV time for a commercial featuring the violin being thrown in the snow. It's an interesting demonstration of how brands in a digital age are recognizing the need to respond directly when consumers are unhappy. Expedia also posted videos online: In one, the ad's actor destroys the instrument; in another, a man who had complained on Twitter was given the chance to smash one as well. Sadly, actual violins were harmed in the making of the commercials. In a further act of penance, Expedia made a donation to the Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto.
Good directions matter
People may be constantly distracted by their phones, but that can be a boon for marketers in the real world. According to a new consumer behaviour study from Kantar and DAC Group, consumers' online searches (both on mobile devices and computers) are a powerful influence on their shopping decisions. But the online survey of just over 2,000 Canadians also found that not all businesses are managing their presence in search results: The study found an increase, compared to last year, in mobile users who said they had found business information online that was inaccurate.
Some of the other findings:
60 per cent: Canadians who search for information about local businesses at least once a week
65 per cent: Canadians who go straight to a store to buy something after searching for information on a mobile device.
86 per cent: Canadians who said reviews of local businesses affect their decisions about where to buy things.
40 per cent: Mobile users in Canada who said they found inaccurate information when they searched for a business online.