Travelocity and McKinney + Silver Launch Roaming Gnome Ad Campaign; Roaming Gnome Enjoys Crackin’ Good Time With Savvy Travelocity Travelers

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.

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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 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.

About Travelocity

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 .

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 .

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 ( )
(212) 554-7425
Mary Kate Smither ( )
(972) 488-4790

Janet Northen ( )
(919) 821-6461

SOURCE Travelocity

Photo : NewsCom:

Judy Haveson, +1-212-554-7425, or , or Mary
Kate Smither, +1-972-488-4790, or , both of VOLLMER,
for Travelocity; or Janet Northen of McKinney + Silver, +1-919-821-6461, or