Initially I had mixed emotions about this TV commercial for booking.com, which bills itself as “Planet Earth’s #1 Accommodations Site.”
On the one hand . . . It grabs your attention and does a spectacular job of leveraging–and registering–its brand name seven times in sixty seconds, which is critical for a brand that’s relatively new to the US market. It also does a nice job of visually demonstrating the benefits it apparently provides its customers.
On the other hand . . . Much of the impact described above is due to its intentional and frequent use of the word “booking” in place of an “f word” that almost rhymes with “booking.” While I personally find this to be pretty clever, and I think a lot of people will find it entertaining, I also suspect that a lot of people will find it offensive.
So is it a brilliant idea or not? If–as I suspect–booking.com is consciously targeting younger, liberally-oriented consumers who like an edgy approach, then I think it is. However, they need to realize–as I again suspect they do–that they’ll be turning off a number of older and/or conservative consumers who will find this spot to be in extremely poor taste.
The essence of effective marketing is knowing your target audience, doing whatever it takes to thrill them, and not worrying about what people you aren’t targeting think. As the late advertising legend Hal Riney once told me, “When you try to appeal to everybody, you usually end up appealing to nobody.”
And the more I think about it, the more I think Hal would have found this commercial to be “booking” awesome!