Ad of the month: Airbnb – Mankind

by Stratton Craig

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Airbnb is no ordinary accommodation booking site, which is one of the reasons why it was recently valued at an extraordinary $25 billion plus. The firm is one other red-hot contributor to the sharing economy (think Uber, Zipcar) and one whose brand transcends the service it provides. Its latest ‘Mankind’ ad campaign demonstrates this well, which is why we’ve chosen it as our ad of the month.
Here’s the spot:

In the ad we see a baby tottering towards a glass door accompanied by grandiose music and a voiceover that asks “Is man kind? Are we good? Go see. Go look through their windows so you can understand their views…” It ends with the tag ‘Belong Anywhere’. The point is to persuade us to explore fearlessly and find out just how kind mankind is, as people are inviting you into their home. Conveniently, Airbnb can help.
What we like is how it looks beyond the other key benefits to choosing the service – low cost, international reach – to sell in the wider experience. The Airbnb brand feels cool and adventurous, especially for today’s impulsive millennials who want to travel and see more of the world whenever they can. The ‘Mankind’ slot upholds this. It suggests that by looking out through someone else’s windows or by sitting at their table the experience is enriched, as you are sharing a unique outlook on the world. The firm is clearly making a move to become a lifestyle brand rather than just an accommodation booking service, and this campaign is the next step towards it.
The ad has even spawned this parody, which swaps the baby for a chubby guy in his pants and gives another perspective on the Airbnb experience. With a viral spoof being the ultimate sign of success in this day and age, Airbnb is clearly onto a winner.
What’s your view on the Mankind spot? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @strattoncraig.

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