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M&C Saatchi create fictitious world of ‘Wotifia’ for debut Wotif campaign

Online accommodation business Wotif has created a fictional world called Wotifia as the central pillar of an ambitious new campaign to target the “next generation of customers”.

The digital and social campaign, which will run across its own channels, paid media and be supported by radio, will launch on Monday and is the debut Wotif work of M&C Saatchi.

The agency was appointed earlier this year on a project basis with a brief to create a “bold and brave” campaign that would breath new life into the Wotif brand.

Against the backdrop of a Wotifia “anthem”, the video features two characters, Jack and Charlie, who travel through the animated, almost trippy make-believe world and take part in a range of experiences around the globe. Other ‘characters’ to appear in the video include ‘singing fart bubbles’.

While Wotifia represents a significant departure from previous Wotif marketing campaigns, general marketing manager Michael Betteridge claimed it remained true to the company’s “down-to-earth” heritage.

He told Mumbrella the six week crusade is designed to showcase that Wotif offers a world of travel possibilities and is not confined to selling distressed hotel rooms.

“We have changed, we are more than what most people remember us to be which is a domestic hotel provider,” he said. “We are still closely looking after our heartland market but this is recognising there is a younger, more independent, more digitally connected traveller out there.

“We want to make sure they understand that Wotif.com is great for domestic accommodation but that we have this extraordinary array of hotels and packages anywhere in the world.”

Betteridge described the campaign as “quirky and irreverent”.

“We wanted bold and brave ideas, we did not want this to be a typical advertising campaign,” he said. “We wanted it to be high engagement and reach a new generation of travellers.”

M&C Saatchi executive creative director Ben Welsh admitted the idea was “rather random”.

“It’s amazing what you can do with a brutally simple idea and incredibly talented team of people,” he said. “The result is something rather random, unique and fun with that rush of excitement and that holiday feeling you get when booking a trip away.”

Betteridge said Wotif ruled out TV as the digital strategy was more engaging and has the potential to reach a huge audience.

“We don’t necessarily need TV. We have 66 per cent brand awareness and are well established,” he explained. “And that 18-49 age market represents 58 per cent of the online audience so they are absolutely in the online space. Google also reaches 85 per cent of that audience, Youtube has more than 7 million viewers and we have a database of 1.7 million customers so it gave us the scale we want.”

He declined to comment on whether M&C would be retained for future projects but said he had “absolutely loved” working the agency.

Wotif, which is the subject of a takeover offer from Expedia, has been forced to look beyond its core accommodation business for growth in recent years as online competition in Australia has intensified.

Managing director Scott Blume said last year that growing outbound travel from Australia was among its key objectives.

Credits

Wotif Group General Manager of Marketing: Michael Betteridge

Wotif Group Marketing Manager: Louise Ryan

ECD: Ben Welsh

Creative Directors/Art Directors/Writers: Gary Dawson, Shane Gibson, Andy Flemming

Digital Art Director: Glenn Christensen

Account Management: Karlee Weatherstone, Emmanuel Spiropoulos, Kristy Schwind, Charlotte Rijkenberg, Marcella Nigro

Planning Director: Mark Vadgama

Agency Producers: Jules Jackson, Sue Hind

Production Company: World Wide Mind

Executive Producers: Will Alexander, Ben Nott.

Director: Rocky Morton

Producer: Michelle Parker

DOP: High Miller

Art Director: Simon Dobbin

Post Production: Sixty40@Heckler

Animation Director: Mark Simpson

Senior Producer: Jayne da Costa

Producer: Tyrone Estephan

Editor: Andrew Holmes

Music: Song Zu

Composer: Ramesh Sathiah

Sound Designer: Abby Sie

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