So, you’re a grown-up baby of the original dot-com boom now owned by a big multinational corporation, and you need to reinvigorate the brand to stand out in what has become an extremely crowded marketplace.
That was the challenge facing lastminute.com when it sat down to devise a new television ad that heralds what it calls an ‘exciting new chapter’ in its story.
Appropriately, and not coincidentally, lastminute.com chose to premiere its new ad to the UK media in the Library Club in London’s St James Square this week. If anything signalled how lastminute.com has grown up, this did – a web brand known for its very pink, very public marketing stunts choosing a private venue housing a million dead trees.
As well as featuring the distinctive voice of Louis Prima – King Louis in Disney’s classic Jungle Book – the prime-time ad mixes a range of unconventional and rather more cliched holiday images.
A pig in a lift, a man catching fish, a pillow fight complete with the requisite flurry of feathers, and ending with a woman sunbathing next to a penguin. The message is that you, the customer, are central to the story.
One of the most memorable travel ads of recent times is Thomson’s Built With You in Mind, perfectly soundtracked by Jim Reeves’ Welcome to My World, a tune that has become synonymous with holidays. Time will tell if Prima’s 1950s version of Enjoy Yourself (lyrics below) will do the same for lastminute.com.
Thankfully Thomson opted not to go down the celebrity endorsement route as rival big two operator Thomas Cook did with Jamie and Louise Redknapp. Can anyone imagine them actually ever going on a Cook package? Using a certain brand of razor, or make-up, yes, but joining the masses on a fly-and-flop two weeks in Magaluf? I think not.
Lastminute.com’s average customer is now in their forties, and recently-installed chief operating officer Ed Kamm described the new focus as an evolution as the brand grows up with its customers.
“We are changing the whole ethos. We are becoming a consumer-led retailer, as an online retailer it’s quite easy to be disassociated because you don’t see your customer face to face,” he said.
Will maturity suit lastminute.com? At the beginning of his presentation Kamm demonstrated the challenge when he flashed up on screen just how many companies are now competing in its space.
It has grown from just three – Ebookers, Expedia and lastminute.com – in 1998 to a bewildering number today, suggesting offline channels such as TV and print, both of which lastminute.com is investing in, are the new online.
Many of the newcomers are looking to be disruptive around the edges and might be more innovative and less risk-averse, but they don’t have the financial clout and established brand of lastminute.com.
Kamm will hope this will set it apart and that we’ll all soon be humming the words below, and thinking of lastminute.com when we do.
You work and work for years and years. You’re always on the go.
You never take a minute off, too busy makin’ dough.
Someday, you say, you’ll have your fun when you’re a millionaire.
Imagine all the fun you’ll have in your old rockin’ chair.
Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink.
The years go by as quickly as a wink.
Enjoy yourself. Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
You’re gonna take that ocean trip, no matter, come what may.
You’ve got your reservations made, but you just can’t get away.
Next year, for sure, you’ll see the world. You’ll really get around.
But how far can you travel when you’re six feet underground?
Your heart of hearts, your dream of dreams, your ravishing brunette,
She’s left you and she’s now become somebody else’s pet.
Lay down that gun. Don’t try, my friend, to reach the great beyond.
You’ll have more fun by reachin’ for a redhead or a blonde.
You never go to nightclubs and you just don’t care to dance.
You don’t have time for silly things like moonlight and romance.
You only think of dollar bills tied neatly in a stack.
But when you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn’t kiss you back.
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