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Hotels.com piggybacks on election conversation with humorous fictional run

Online hotel booking site Hotels.com is joining the presidential race conversation in a campaign that covers its Captain Obvious character?s fictional run as a candidate, balancing social media tools with television spots. 

The comedic campaign follows the character as he literally ?runs? for office, jogging throughout various states in the U.S. in which he will use Hotels.com to book his stays. Various posts on Twitter and a mobilized digital hub will feature a variety of campaign-related content to accompany the television spots, creating an immersive story experience. 

?There is a lot of value in promoting a campaign like Captain Obvious on social media,? said Ashley Poynter, chief storytelling officer at Macon Raine. ?This particular campaign is timely and relevant, so it is almost engaging by default. 

?By weaving together a cohesive campaign through a Twitter account and branded hashtags supported by TV spots and Web content, they are providing snackable content that can be easily shared on social networks while reinforcing the message via other channels,? she said. ?While social campaigns can be educational, many consumers are following brands simply for entertainment value; they follow brands that make them laugh and have unique personalities online. 

?This campaign hits the spot by leveraging social media to piggyback on the election, a highly viral topic that people are already talking about, and adding a funny, amusing twist.?

Talking on Twitter
The verified Twitter account for Hotels.com?s fictional spokesperson is filled with various tweets that are common-sense statements, which coincide with the Captain Obvious persona. The character took to YouTube and Twitter yesterday to announce his run for presidency in which he seems to take the race literally, commenting on the physical abilities of other candidates while jogging in place.


The video will air as a television ad, as well as a variety of other spots as a part of the campaign. The brand is hoping consumers will join the conversation with the curated hashtag #ObviousPresident. 

Captain Obvious will be joining the debates via Twitter during airtime. The page will feature the character sharing tweets regarding the debate during the next one, taking place on February 25. 


The New Jersey page showcased the Chelsea hotel with prices as a place to stay in the city. The site also features a variety of GIFs featuring Captain Obvious and various reaction faces that users can share through social media integration.

Social media campaign
There are also a few videos on YouTube which feature the character running in front of a green screen for photoshop savvy consumers to have fun with. Users can also purchase a variety of campaign-related products on the digital hub, such as a beach towel with text reading ?I?m not throwing in the towel,? as well as buttons and duffel bags. 

?Campaigns like this can be tricky because they are intrinsically tied to a real-life event,? Ms. Poynter said. ?There will always be some consumers who find this sort of thing in bad taste, or who could potentially take the brand messaging too seriously as it relates to the actual election. 

?They key is to keep it light, maintain the brand?s own unique tone and personality throughout the campaign and to be on point with customer service and responsiveness,? she said. ?Social community managers can make or break a campaign like this. 

?Having a person or team that is highly responsive to questions, concerns or even ire can bolster the brand?s reputation as relatable and real.?