HomeAway Enlists Clark Griswold on Facebook for Super Bowl Buildup

Clark Griswold evidently has the Wagon Queen Family Truckster all gassed up and ready to go on another vacation, as HomeAway has brought back the Chevy Chase movie character for its first Super Bowl-based campaign. The vacations rental brand will run a :30 spot during the Feb. 7 game’s third quarter, hoping to not only drive leads to the home page but also create social media buzz.

“Social media and the Super Bowl go hand in hand,” explained Matt Cohen, director of global brand marketing at the Austin, TX-based HomeAway. “People are watching videos, talking about commercials they saw, downloading, and making comments on blogs. It’s much more integrated than 10 years ago when dot-coms first started advertising [during the game].”

The three-year-old company’s Facebook buzz is off to a healthy start. Less than five weeks ago, it created a Clark Griswold “fan” page that has already become a bastion of activity compared to its regular account. The HomeAway brand currently has 1,600 “fans,” while its Clark Griswold page has accrued 63,000.

“The growth has been primarily organic, starting slowly and then certainly building over a [short] time,” Cohen said. “We have gone out on a limited spend to let people know there’s a Clark Griswold ‘fan’ page available for people interested in learning about him.”

HomeAway has been posting three to five light-hearted comments — designed to be written in the tradition of the movie character — per day on the Facebook page. A recent example: “Woken up by a call from Larry the mechanic. The Truckster is ready to be picked up. I can’t wait to see her.” Typically, the posts have resulted in dozens to hundreds of “fan” comments and many more “like this” acknowledgments.

griswolds (for public use).PNG “Every day we are seeing 1,300 interactions between fans and Clark Griswold on that page,” Cohen said. “Over time we will be ramping up the brand messaging, talking about vacation rentals or where [viewers] should go on vacation. It’s going to be an interesting way to communicate the brand.”

The actors Chase and Beverly DeAngelo — stars of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movie franchise that the campaign references — will appear in the Super Bowl TV spot. Cohen suggested that their images will also be seen in other digital channels, such as a soon-to-be-unveiled microsite, in banners, via e-mail, and in UGC efforts for HomeAway.

Seattle-based agency Publicis in the West has led the TV-online initiative, which also includes a Clark Griswold play on Twitter. The one-month-old account hasn’t been as robust as the Facebook effort, netting a modest 277 followers while seeing a handful of tweets every day.

Meanwhile, Teleflora is planning a flurry of digital advertising in support of its :30 Super Bowl commercial. In a Valentine’s Day-themed campaign aimed at men, the floral retailer will run home page take-over ads on ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com, and CNN.com, among others.

The Los Angeles-based firm will push mobile display ads across many of those publishing brands, while also running them on NYTimes.com, BostonHerald.com, FanHouse.com, NFL.com, NHL.com, and NBA.com. For the take-over ads and mobile displays, viewers who click through will be taken to a landing page with a click-to-call ordering feature, according to a spokesperson.

Additionally, Teleflora will launch an e-card initiative where users can choose between a “naughty” or “nice” flash-animated voice-enabled message that involves “talking flowers.” This component will build on the TV spot, which features a voice-over by legendary comedian Don Rickles.

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