Air Transat shows how travel can change us

Who: Air Transat, with Sid Lee for strategy, creative and media; Les Enfants for production (directed by Amélie Hardy); Cult Nation for sound and music.

What: “Come Back Changed,” a promotional campaign inspired by the belief that travel—and leisure travel in particular—possesses transformative powers. It builds on the airline’s new “Travel Moves Us” positioning introduced last year, which was specifically designed to position the airline as serving all travel segments, not just vacation travellers.

When & Where: The promotional campaign went live today (Jan. 10) with a 30- and 15-second online video spot running in Ontario and Quebec, supported by a radio ad running primarily in the key travel markets of Montreal, Quebec City and the GTA.

Why: The platform and this campaign are built around the idea that travel has the power to change who people are, said Maria Pagano, senior director, brand and customer experience with Air Transat. It’s a platform that Air Transat can own in a crowded category, she said.

While the first spot on the new platform, “Why Travel,” was more brand focused, this is a promotional campaign targeting leisure travellers that is intended to generate awareness of a variety of Air Transat deals, including round trip flights to the south starting at $399, one-way flights to Florida beginning at $150, and other southern packages starting at $889. “It’s a different take on our positioning [using] a much more tactical format,” said Pagano.

How: Set entirely on an elevator, the spot features a woman named Maggie who has just returned from a two-week vacation in an unspecified southern location. She looks rejuvenated and happy, while her fellow riders look drawn and tired, including one man who yawns repeatedly.

Told entirely via voiceover, the spot informs viewers that just two weeks ago, Maggie was at the end of her rope—giving a delivery guy one star because her Pad Thai didn’t have enough shrimp, hiding her uncle from her social feed, and even having a mean thought about a toddler. “All that changed when she travelled south with Air Transat,” says the VO, following by a screen showing the offer.

“We wanted [the spot] to be relatable for many people in our strategic target, and it’s something that we felt different people could relate to,” said Pagano.

And we quote: “The campaign focuses on the traveller, not the season, which is unusual in the travel industry. Rather than simply saying ‘Escape Winter,’ ‘Come Back Changed’ is about the benefits of travel on the individual and how it brings us closer to our best selves.” — Brian Gill, creative director, Sid Lee

Chris Powell