Wondros director Sean Thonson shot the ads in Panama, “which offered very distinct location backdrops and an oddly generic-looking downtown skyline that worked perfectly to represent world travel,” says Proof executive creative director Craig Mikes.
“Aside from our inanimate gnome, this campaign used no talent or on-camera principals — even the roaming gnome’s voice was added in post,” Mikes says. “So, we wanted the best location shooter we could get who could help us manage a variety of different looks.” Thonson’s category experience, which includes British Columbia tourism spots, fit the bill.
Working with Travelocity’s wee star presented special challenges.
“He can’t move, basically can’t do anything physical,” Mikes says. “So, we wanted to find inventive ways to keep him moving that added more action to the scenes. Putting him in a kayak, on a zipline and in a pool float gave us the physical action we wanted on film. And when he was forced to be still, we made sure to keep the camera moving. “
Thonson’s crew steered the gnome using clear fishing line, with handlers just outside the frame wielding rods and reels. “As luck would have it, the roaming gnome broke free of his restraints and accidentally went over a waterfall in his kayak,” Mikes recalls. (Where’s a stunt gnome when you need one?) Understandably, that footage was left on the cutting-room floor.
“Wish You Were Here” marks the brand’s first big ad push since 2018, and comes at a time when the travel industry faces uncertainty due to growing coronavirus fears.
“Traveler safety is a top priority for us, and it’s important that we continue to let our customers know that we are here for them, and ready to help them take that trip when they are ready,” Molnar says.
See more new spots on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Travelocity parent Expedia is going through changes of its own, including recent job cuts amid mixed financial performances as chairman Barry Diller and vice chairman Peter Kern take over day-to-day operations.
Campaign: “Wish You Were Here”
Agency: Proof Advertising
Executive Creative Director: Craig Mikes
Art Director: Lane Jordan
Copywriter: Claire Jordan
Producer: Amy Hurt
Group Account Director: Dionne Estabrook
Account Supervisor: Blair Williams
Senior Strategist: Deb Freeman
Director: Sean Thonson
Production Company: Wondros
Editorial: Union Editorial
Audio: Digital Domain
Finish: Finland Finish