Cannes Lions

Transkind

STARCOM MEDIAVEST GROUP, Chicago / AIRBNB / 2016

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

In early 2015, Airbnb launched its advertising and marketing campaign “Is Mankind?” which included a manifesto film intended to make a statement about the brand’s view on the world. The film featured emotive footage of a baby taking its first steps and was paired with an inspiring voice over from Angela Basset. While the narrative of the film articulated a point of view that Airbnb was passionate about, early commentators didn’t immediately embrace it.

While we felt confident in the message, it was clear that in order to be more broadly successful we needed to create a deeper contextual understanding and acceptance of the campaign narrative. Enter “Is Transkind?”

Execution

It started with a Tweet from Airbnb: “It takes courage to make a difference in the world. It also takes kindness. Tonight we honor both.”

With a custom version of the “Is Mankind?” campaign made just for Caitlyn and her big moment, Airbnb ran the film immediately following her acceptance speech of the Arthur Ashe award. The message of accepting mankind reflected the weight of this moment: “Mankind, Womankind, Transkind, Humankind.”

The brand became the sponsor for the E! Entertainment TV series “I am Cait”, which profiled Caitlyn throughout her journey. We launched custom LGBT posts from Buzzfeed and Upworthy, aligned our message to pro-trans bloggers placements and strategically aligned with related programming on TV.

Building on Airbnb’s ongoing support of LGBT acceptance, the brand re-launched a video, "Love is Welcome Here: Our #HostWithPride Film" from a few months prior, amplifying visibility.

Outcome

Within hours of the launch, sentiment for the brand’s effort shot up to 90% positive. A massive turnaround from the public’s initial reaction.

Airbnb naturally became part of the conversation about inclusion with 9,400 organic social media mentions and 20+ trade magazine articles.

Our Buzzfeed and Upworthy content earned 95% positive sentiment, 26x the industry average in social interactions, with 83% organic referral.

In a personal letter to Airbnb, Caitlyn Jenner thanked the company for their ongoing support and countless letters of appreciation from pro-trans individuals and Airbnb hosts continue to pour in.

As recognized in Fast Company, “It’s the kind of anthem ad that, timed to a moment in pop culture, aims to define a brand.” Campaign content that people initially struggled to embrace was, with the appropriate relevant context, earning a disproportionate share of cultural conversation. And even evoking goosebumps.

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