TripAdvisor launches UK campaign and hires local agency

TripAdvisor is rolling out a new campaign in the UK today, featuring its owlish mascot Little Wiser for the first time.

The campaign (above) will use a series of about six different spots in 10-second, 20-second and 30-second formats that will run on a mix of major cable and national network channels. The plan is to invest in a wide mix of media targets, which will evolve over time based on performance results.

Created by US-based agency Supermoon, each spot focuses on a different function of TripAdvisor, beyond its well-known ratings and review function.

"TripAdvisor is a well-known brand that's been around for 17 years, but it's not 'known-well'. What I mean is, while we are known and loved for our content when it comes to research and planning, most aren't aware we have an outstanding price comparison tool on our app," chief marketing officer, Barbara Messing explained. 

In the series of ads, Little Wiser is always in a hotel setting.

"He's a savvy, globally travelled Owl and in the ads he's fitted by a tailor to talk about how our site can help with finding the price that fits – sitting in a hotel safe to talk about securing the best price, and so on," Messing said.

The campaign, which runs in the US in subtly different formats and dialogue, marks a return to TV, a medium from which TripAdvisor has been absent from for the past year. 

In the UK, TripAdvisor’s most recent TV campaign, "Don’t just visit", ran at the end of 2014.

TripAdvisor has struggled to make its Instant Booking function a success. Launched in 2014 and rolled out globally last year, consumers are still not using the site to complete bookings, continuing to rely on it as a review site.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the site's booking and search revenue improved to -7%, better than the -12% in the first quarter but remains in the red. Its hotel revenue (which represents 80% of the site's revenue) for 2016 dropped 6% to $1.2bn (£940m). 

"The goal of this campaign is to push the TripAdvisor brand further down the purchase funnel, from research and planning to when folks are actually ready to make a booking," Messing said.

UK agency appointment

TripAdvisor has appointed Joint as its first agency in the UK for creative execution and testing. 

While the first run of ads by Supermoon will roll out in France and Spain later this week, Messing said, Joint's own campaign concepts will be ready for the European market later this year.

The company's spokesman declined to disclose details of the agency pitch process, but in April, Campaign reported that the booking and reviews site was on the hunt for a creative agency in Europe. Brothers and Sisters, Joint, Mr President and VCCP pitched for the account.

All Response Media is handling the media planning and buying.