It seems I can’t turn on the TV without seeing the Trivago campaign. If you are not familiar with Trivago, it is a web site that searches other hotel booking Internet sites and lists all the pricings for the same hotels as listed on the bucket shops like Hotels.com and Expedia.
OK, it seems like a reasonably useful site and one I would probably use – except for one thing. I just hate the character that Trivago has scripted as its spokesperson. Rolling Stone wrote that he was the “rare pitchman capable of haunting your dreams while simultaneously enflaming [sic] your loins.” Slate says he is ”a shallow avatar of middle-aged masculinity, a found object and a cult item, an accidental enigma.”
All indicators are that the campaign is working. But it can’t work in the long run. Sometimes when you are launching a brand, it helps to have a quirky, even annoying, personality presenting your goods. It makes it memorable, which is exactly what you want when a brand is launched.
But long-term growth is built upon affinity. How much the target audience identifies itself with the brand. Somehow, I can’t see how this pretentious coolness can be accepted as believable. I can’t help but think, every time I see the ads, that this overtly cool guy is not winking at me and trying to pick me up. This is not a guy you would want to have a beer with. It is a guy who drinks vodka martinis and flirts non-stop with your date.
His demeanor is unbelievable and, as a result, condescending and irritating. In a blog I read in the Wall Street Journal, one reader commented this: “You ever get that vague sense that something is not right, that the universe is somehow off? Then you realize you just saw the Trivago guy?” I could not have said it any better myself.