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Work / Advertising

Holiday rental site HomeAway pokes fun at Airbnb in new ad

Holiday rental website HomeAway has launched a new global ad that shows the downsides of renting a room in someone else’s home instead of a whole house. Created by Saatchi & Saatchi London, the ad plays out the various and mostly unpleasant side effects of sharing with strangers while on holiday.

Mike Whiteside and Ben Robinson who were the creatives on the ad say: “HomeAway needs to differentiate itself from hotels and other sites like Airbnb, so the answer was fairly simple: when you get a whole house to yourself, you don’t have to share your space. And given how much everyone loves to share these days we thought it could be fun to take the piss out of what we’ve become.”

From a man rocking out in his speedos by the pool to a bar of soap covered in pubic hair, the spot has gone for gross-out humour to demonstrate its point and create a stark contrast between the sharers and non-sharers. Tim & Eric, the American comedy duo responsible for several Adult Swim series, were asked to direct the ad in a decision that worked out well for Mike and Ben. “We’re fans of theirs in real life so we abused our position as creatives to get in touch. Luckily they’re hilarious men who got it straightaway and wanted to get involved so our nefarious scheme ended up being good sense.”

The ad plays quietly to our expectations as it unfolds but it’s the timing and reactions of the distressed holidaymakers that keeps it from being predictable. “[Tim & Eric’s] casting choices and direction were spot on. It’s weird to say about an ad full of pubic hair but some of the performances are pretty subtle. They knew when to push it and when to hold back.”

While the ad never mentions its competitor Airbnb outright, it’s clear HomeAway wants to be seen as the better alternative with a 10% to 15% overlap in HomeAway’s and Airbnb’s listings according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Saatchi & Saatchi London: HomeAway (still)

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Saatchi & Saatchi London: HomeAway (still)

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Saatchi & Saatchi London: HomeAway (still)

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Saatchi & Saatchi London: HomeAway (still)