Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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September 5th, 2010 · No Comments · Social Commentary


The Travelocity Travel Gnome, Fred Thompson and Adult Film Star Holly Madison in the same post? Well…. yes… because they’re part of the same issue. I originally thought the Travel Gnome was cute but I think it’s time for Travelocity to take another approach – and apparently they have. I don’t think even Holly Madison could revive the tired Travel Gnome.



I had just finished watching Fred Thompson pitch a reverse mortgage. Quite surprising I thought.

FRED THOMPSON IS NOW PITCHING REVERSE MORTGAGES? Basically the way a reverse mortgage was explained to me is for people who have no kids to just live off the equity and not stress themselves. But there are other bad connotations.

But from Senator to Law and Order to Presidential hopeful, and to think that at one time Senator Thompson was the conservative standard bearer. Now I’m an independent. But I like Fred, of course because he’s a Senator and was on TV. Which means that he surely has some empathy for the Hollywood agenda (again some of which I agree with, some not). But by all accounts he was prodded into the race and, seemingly, his heart was never really in it. You could tell from the debates, it was almost as if he was looking at his watch. He got into the race late, and Republicans were swayed into thinking about how, coming from TV, he might have the appeal of another Ronald Reagen. Maybe he he would have been a good Vice President. But his Political Brand (see previous posts), is now severely diluted.

But afterwards I had to watch another Travel Gnome commercial. Some of these seemingly un-ending campaigns, like Progressive’s have run their course with me. Now, Geiko interestingly enough has three campaigns which I think at least mixes up their delivery and keeps their approach fresh. They have the gekko, the cavemen (I like the new ones with the Deadliest Catch cast), and the new campaign (that being the dapper Yes/No guy asking rhetorical questions about Elmer Fudd, the Soccer Announcer calling a chess match, or about the Little Piggy crying Wee Wee Wee all the way home).

But alas, for one advertising agency of McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, NC, the memo may have come too late. Personally, I have never used Travelocity because I’ve never had much luck with those sites – too many other offers that diminish my experience.

Same thing with the Yeti. The first time the Yeti throws a guy a hundred feet for being a jerk it’s funny. Now however, I’ve seen it enough though the ad firm Minneapolis advertising agency Carmichael Lynch has helped their client’s brand “Jack’s” become the number one beef jerky in the United States.

But I’m sorry, the it’s time for the Travel Gnome to return to the garden. Not hating, just saying. Remember Where’s The Beef or Let Noxema Cream your face (with Jets Legend Joe Namath)? Or – I’d like to Buy the World a Coke? Even “Lectric Shave – BY…. Mennen…. ran their respective courses.

Bottom line, one commercial maybe it’s funny, the second a chuckle, the third, a blank stare – but I think they’ve gone to the well once too often (since 2003). A good ad should make me laugh or tell me how it’s going to make my life better, save me money or make me happier. So when Optimum Online (who believe me I’m no fan of), tells me about Verizon Fios’ disconnection fees (even though I’ve only heard raves about FIOS), GOOD COMMERCIAL.

When Verizon Fios shows a mother giving a cell phone to her daughter in the mall for the first time and letting her go – and asking the viewer – which network would you trust your daughter to? DARN RIGHT – Verizon (though they’re the most expensive).

But according to Ad Age, Joel Frey, the Travelocity spokesman, said in an e-mail. “It’s been seven years since our last review, and we feel that the time is right to undergo this process.” And that means the McKinney agency lost the $80 million dollar account.

So let me think…. Travelocity…. hmmmm….

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