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Risk Versus Reward: A Campaign to Educate, Entertain and Showcase APAVT’s Value

How Message in a Bottle created a campaign that framed risk mitigation in a humorous and engaging way to highlight the value proposition of APAVT

The post-Covid landscape and the war in Ukraine have meant an increase in the cost of living for many, including the Portuguese. Consumers are even more sensitive to price and tend to seek discounts, promotions and reduced costs. For travel and tourism companies, this may lead to the hiring of services that represent a greater risk to the final consumer.

In light of this, Message in a Bottle launched the campaign Don’t let your dream turn into a nightmare for the Portuguese Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (APAVT). Through a blend of humour and engagement, the campaign aimed to educate consumers about the risks of DIY and cut-price holiday products, while simultaneously demonstrating the value of APAVT’s professional travel expertise

The Approach

In the first brainstorming phase, the approach was more literally linked to price, in other words, “You get what you pay for”. However, it was considered a bit aggressive for a target audience sensitive to the theme, potentially causing them to feel judged and less receptive to the message.

The campaign therefore shifted towards the use of humorous language around the theme ‘Don’t let your dream turn into a nightmare’. Video and sound, specifically reels and radio, were used to illustrate the idea that holiday time is rare and precious – and that it must be protected. It is in this context that the value of APAVT was inserted through an educational campaign.

The main goal was to raise consumer awareness of the importance of enjoying holidays safely and the associated costs involved. It needed to enhance APAVT’s brand recognition and performance, not only in the B2B sector but also in the B2C market, while serving a higher purpose beyond mere commercial objectives.

Summer, Travel, Vacation and Holiday concept – Beautiful Eiffel tower view at window in resort near Seine river, Paris ,France

The campaign was carried out on several fronts:

  • A website – Férias de Sonho (Dream Holidays) A landing page with no evident APAVT branding was created. The landing page contained images of dream destinations for several kinds of holidays: beaches, adventure, city breaks, etc.
  • When the visitor clicked on one of these options, they were forwarded to a page where the dream image became a nightmare image, the “reality” that can result from purchasing a trip without the support of specialised agencies.
  • It was only beneath the second set of images that reference to APAVT was made. This mention was not intended to be patronising. Rather, to clarify and emphasise the assurance provided by the specialisation and expertise of travel professionals. After all, when you’re ill, who do you turn to? When you need legal advice, who do you consult? A professional. In addition to links to APAVT channels, this section also contained an informal and playful Q&A to demystify some ideas about travel agencies and reinforce their importance.

Social Media

The campaign was also run on APAVT’s social media. In order to achieve wider distribution, customised content for all APAVT member travel agencies was designed, incorporating their individual logos. The objective was for each agency to publish the campaign on their respective social media platforms, substantially expanding its reach.

Ad strategy

Message in a Bottle invested heavily in a large Google Ads campaign that directed those searching for words such as “cheap holidays”, “low-cost trips”, etc., to the website and paid media in the form of Facebook and Instagram Ads segmented according to the five personas identified.

Radio Campaign

To give another “life” to the campaign and generate non-digital visibility, radio advertising was run on Rádio Comercial. Boasting the largest audience in Portugal, this radio station possesses a brand and tone that are perfectly in sync with the creative concept and identified personas.

  • 6 key Visuals
  • 5 reels
  • 68 tourism agencies involved
  • 1,632 posts on social networks
  • 36,000 clicks
  • 4 million people reached

The X Factor

Strong client relationship

Message in a Bottle has been working with APAVT for many years and has built a strong relationship with the client. The agency shares the same core theme of tourism with APAVT, and this has created a unique synergy. It is a partnership that has brought with it a sense of purpose and effective communication between stakeholders.

Teamwork built on respect

Message in a Bottle has a team that leaves egos at the door and collaborates through fluid participation and the non-judgmental exchange of ideas. By working together in this way, small yet impactful changes and different perspectives can bring a whole new feeling to a project.

Creative solutions that defy budget constraints

Message in a Bottle was able to circumvent budget constraints and exceed expectations by finding ways that were simple, impactful and versatile. For instance, the creative use of visuals, like the “before and after” images, managed to educate, entertain and engage the target audience. It even allowed for the creation of custom posts, which made the campaign more organic through the spontaneous participation of associates.