SOUTHLAKE, Texas, Jan 05, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Geared toward today's savvy
travelers, Travelocity, the most popular travel site on the Web, and its
advertising agency, McKinney + Silver of Raleigh, N.C., today launched the
multi-dimensional "Roaming Gnome" advertising campaign.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040105/DAM004 )
Pilfered by some Travelocity(R) travelers, THE ROAMING GNOME(SM), the two-
foot original character with a red hat, will be featured in a series of
advertisements in media outlets including DIRECTV, cable television, national
and local radio, and national and local print spots.
The campaign's initial budget is approximately $80 million.
"We believe that the best trips start at Travelocity, and we want to share
our excitement with other travelers," said Susan McLaughlin, vice president of
marketing for Travelocity. "With The Roaming Gnome as the central figure of
this campaign, we are highlighting Travelocity's no-surprise philosophy when
it comes to the entire travel shopping experience, while also allowing
consumers to witness the wonder of all the fantastic places he sees, all made
possible through Travelocity."
In the ads, The Roaming Gnome writes to his owner Bill, telling of his
experiences while traveling, including cliff diving in Mexico, skiing the
winter slopes, enjoying a stinky wedge of cheese in Quebec and flying --
complete with eye covers. All of the ads include the tagline, "Book with
Travelocity: Don't Forget your Hat(SM)." The line signifies how Travelocity
takes care of all the customer's needs.
"The Roaming Gnome is a character that we believe consumers will come to
love and embrace," said David Baldwin, executive creative director for
McKinney + Silver. "He is a lens that allows travelers to share in his
enthusiasm of seeing all of these magnificent places for the first time, and
he is a great medium for sharing Travelocity travel stories."
The ad launch follows a three-week pre-publicity campaign, during which
the gnome's fictional owner, Bill, searched for his gnome online, in cinema
ads, posters and the classifieds. Interested searchers visited Bill's site at
www.whereismygnome.com and thousands more called in to report sightings as
well. A television spot teasing the campaign that featured a news reporter
interviewing several people on the lookout for The Roaming Gnome ran on Jan. 1
during the 2004 Rose Bowl.
The rotund, three-dimensional character, who hails from Great Britain and
sports a pointy red hat, blue coat, and distinctive long, white beard,
represents the spirit of Travelocity travelers with his adventurous,
enthusiastic and fun-loving nature.
A longtime tradition in Europe and the United Kingdom, gnome "kidnappings"
have been a source of amusement for those who "nick" the small, garden
creatures for travels throughout the world, photograph the gnomes and mail the
photos with "ransom" notes back to their owners.
Travelocity, a Sabre Holdings(TM) company, pioneered the online travel
space and continues to be the most popular travel service on the Web, giving
consumers access to hundreds of airlines, thousands of hotels and cruise,
last-minute and vacations packages, and best-in-class car rental companies,
all backed by 1,000 customer service representatives staffed to provide 24-
hour assistance. With 41 million members, Travelocity is the sixth largest
travel agency in the United States. It has been recognized worldwide for its
leadership in the online travel space, and it operates or powers Web sites in
five languages across four continents. Additional information about
Travelocity can be found on the Web at www.travelocity.com .
Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE: TSG) is a world leader in travel
commerce, retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology
solutions for the travel industry. More information about Sabre Holdings is
available at www.sabre-holdings.com .
About McKinney + Silver
Founded in 1969, McKinney + Silver is a creatively renowned advertising
agency whose clients, in addition to Travelocity, include Audi of America, the
Ad Council, Fieldcrest Cannon, First Citizens Bank, Full Frame Documentary
Film Festival, Lands' End, the NASDAQ Stock Market, XO Communications and the
Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Headquartered in Raleigh, N.C.,
McKinney is an independent operating unit of Havas, a NASDAQ-listed firm that
is one of the world's largest communications companies. In addition to
advertising, McKinney + Silver offers brand identity and graphic design
services through mckinney. design. More information is available at
Judy Haveson (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Mary Kate Smither (email@example.com )
MCKINNEY + SILVER Contact:
Janet Northen (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Photo : NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040105/DAM004
Judy Haveson, +1-212-554-7425, or email@example.com , or Mary
Kate Smither, +1-972-488-4790, or firstname.lastname@example.org , both of VOLLMER,
for Travelocity; or Janet Northen of McKinney + Silver, +1-919-821-6461, or