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Celebrating Expedia – A Most Unpopular Brand

When a brand is able to bring me to tears before 7am with a story well-told, let’s suffice it to say that they have my attention.

As a gal who travels hither and yon on a regular basis, I’m no stranger to Expedia. Search for this, search for that, book a hotel, do some vacation-flavored dreaming when I should be doing something else with my day — it seems only natural that they’d look to tell their brand story through the eyes of their customers.

The people who use their site every day to get from where they are to where they need to be, want to go, or have always dreamed of being.

Or in the case of one man, a place he never (ever) dreamed he’d be going — to walk his daughter down the aisle as she married another woman.

Here in the United States, we’re smack-dab in the middle of a heated political season — and gay marriage is a leading issue. Expedia could have taken the easy way out and shown a father or mother facing another heart-wrenching challenge regarding one of their children, but they didn’t. They chose the unpopular path — celebrating their customer, even though there was a certainty that they would lose business, suffer from backlash, and put their brand at a potential risk on account of choosing to tell this particular story.

Today, I’m celebrating Expedia for making the unpopular decision and telling a beautiful story that’s drawn the ire of a very specific demographic. Want to see the backlash? You can see 30 of the most outrageous reactions to the commercial here on Buzzfeed. But for the (to-date) 203 people who have openly disliked the video on YouTube, not to mention the adverse reactions posted on Expedia’s Facebook page, they’ve done the one thing that an unpopular brand always endeavors to accomplish: they’ve made a decision designed to honor their audience. And to their credit, stated that if this isn’t a story that sits well with you, you’re welcome to make your travel purchases elsewhere.

So bravo, Expedia, for a story well-told. Last week, you brought tears to my eyes before my morning coffee had even settled, and all through the simple act of celebrating your customers…even though you knew that some of your long-standing customers wouldn’t stand by and celebrate with you. And the best part? The people who choose to stay after you chose to take a stand will happily take turns holding the door so the folks who want to make their travel decisions elsewhere can leave with ease.

Stop by Expedia’s Facebook page and read one of the over 4000 comments and if you’re so inclined, add your click to the pool of 30,000 likes and growing on this particular video alone.

  • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

    Wow….

    Thank YOU for sharing this as I had not seen it or heard anything about it yet.

    Don’t you love that hopefully in the near future, we’ll look back at ads like this and the reaction they got and wonder how the world was ever filled with the hatred and cluelessness that some people possess today?

    I love that more brands are willing to take a stand like this. Who would have thought a travel brand and a cookie maker would do such things? I hope more do.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      I look forward to the day where we don’t have to use qualifiers like “gay” in front of marriage. I think Expedia just helped many people take a huge step towards that. And for every customer they might have lost, I’m thinking they might have earned two for life. Like me :)

  • http://twitter.com/richlauwers Rich Lauwers

    Here, here. Love to see a company do the right thing.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      I agree, Rich. I love it when a brand takes a stand.

  • Juan Carlos Vara Perez

    I have to say, that is one of the most touching commercials I’ve seen. I never considered a company like Expedia to buy my plane tickets, but next time I book a flight, it’ll be through them.

    I honestly hope people understand that homosexuals are normal people just like themselves. Let’s have faith in a brighter future for the rights of everybody…

  • http://twitter.com/bdorman264 Bill Dorman

    ‘Religion’ sure makes us do and say some crazy things. Personally, I think it’s ludicrous we make such a big deal about same-sex relationships.

    My sister is in a committed same-sex relationship and it certainly didn’t change who she is; and bravo to her for finding a partner and somebody to love. It’s that simple….

    Congrats to Expedia for doing the ‘right thing.’

    • Mike Korner

      ” ‘Religion’ sure makes us do and say some crazy things.”
      Amen to that!

  • Joel MacCollam

    The dad’s voice, some of the photography, lingering music — all caught me offguard (as it should) and put a tear in my eyes as well. A soft touch in both advertising and love (parental as well as peer), are a powerful, powerful combination. I travel under Expedia’s highest status, and I shall so continue.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      *applause, Joel!*

  • Mike Korner

    “Here in the United States, we’re smack-dab in the middle of a heated political season — and gay marriage is a leading issue.”
    Yep,
    we have one candidate who says he is against it, and one who announced
    his support of it in May of an election year. I suppose that’s progress.
    Hopefully the candidate who says he supports gay marriage isn’t just
    using his announcement to get votes. Politician-speak is never cheaper than during campaign season.

    Marketing wise, this is brilliant.
    - What I like about Expedia’s stance is that they didn’t
    just say we support gay marriage and show a couple of wedding pictures.
    They chose to go all the way. I like how they told the story from the
    Dad’s perspective. I think a lot of parents will be able to relate to
    his feelings/words.
    - Expedia’s competitors can take a stance and say “hey, we love you too”, take a
    stance and say “no way”, or they can say nothing and let people assume.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1444711584 Marianna Trevino Wright

      Dear Mike,
      I wish it were progress, but sadly, I think it’s just more politics.
      My nephew received a fundraising solicitation email from Obama (campaign) on THE DAY in May that he made his public pronouncement. My nephew’s response: ACTIONS speak louder than words. Over three years–during the first two of which Obama had a SUPER Majority in Congress–he DID NOTHING to advance marriage equality in this country. But, as you say, in May of a a presidential election year, he SPOKE of his support for it…. tsk, tsk.

      • Mike Korner

        Marianna, Optimist-Me hopes you are wrong but Realist-Me fears you are right.

      • http://www.facebook.com/MarkHoben Mark Hoben

        I’d point out that on issues like marriage equality the Democrats never had anything resembling a super majority. For too many conservative Democratic senators, legislation supporting marriage equality was never going to be an option (McCaskill of Missouri, Tester of Montana, Nelson of Florida, and Casey of Pennsylvania to name a few).

        I think we’d all like to see more progress more quickly (I certainly know I would) but I believe it’s fair to say this administration has done more for marriage equality and LGBT issues than any other.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      I as well love how they told the WHOLE story and didn’t half-ass it by any means.

  • http://twitter.com/maggifitzgerald Maggie Fitzgerald

    Wow! Please pass the Kleenex!

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      *passed!*

  • http://www.youreverythingservices.com/ Deb Lamb

    Had to grab my
    tissue! Good gracious, what a beautiful and compelling story. I will use
    Expedia from now on. The main reason is because they chose to stand up for what
    they believed in…true love! Love knows no color or gender. It simply is love,
    the most beautiful thing you can share with another person.

    Kudos to Expedia!
    Thanks Erika for sharing that with us, too.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      Love knows no color or gender…so true. I wish that it would know judgement for fewer…

  • http://www.facebook.com/erin.lintern Erin Lintern

    I am a proud lesbian Expedia employee! My company loves me, and this is how they show it. They have also stuck their neck out to support Marriage Equality (Ref 74) in Washington State. I am so blessed to work for such a great company that recognizes me and the person I love.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      This? I love this. HIgh five to you and your employer, Erin, for having some balls and taking a stand…on LOVE.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MarkHoben Mark Hoben

      Bravo Erin, well said! – Another proud Expedian

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-Copper/1661830800 Rick Copper

    I will be using expedia more than usual now. Bravo.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      +1, Rick.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    I think this family deserves some credit for being willing to make themselves available to deliver this message love and light, potentially making themselves un-popular in their little corner of the world in pursuit of an ideal nation where there’s justice and liberty for all.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      Most certainly. The couple and their families deserve our thanks for their willingness to share their story with us :)

  • http://twitter.com/veemoe Victoria

    This is so completely freaking awesome. And you are so completely freaking awesome for bringing it to our attention.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      My pleasure, Victoria.

  • Ann Gibson

    WOW!!! That’s all I have. (and tears)

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      Glad you enjoyed, Ann!

  • http://www.facebook.com/girlnigel K Nigel Holderby

    This is beautiful. **Tears

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      Me, too. Double Kleenex!

  • http://twitter.com/thisgalfriday Mandaline Godown

    Damn. Truly well done.
    Would love to see more of this breed of outreach and story telling… the story and delivery are spot on and the message is clear. Yes, sadly, it’ll raise some controversy, but the majority will be in their favor and will only help their message. Will definitely share…

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      Glad you enjoyed, Mandaline!

  • John Smith

    This company has no scruples. They throw their employees away like trash and now they are trying to move share through LGBT stories. Try to get support when you need it. F*ck Expedia! Kayak for life.

    • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

      Really? I think that if you scroll down through the comments, you’ll find a lesbian employee of Expedia here whose views on her employer are quite different.

      • John Smith

        Yes, really. 1 example against thousands that have worked and still work there. There are always two sides to every coin. Using preference to sell airfare is a horrible tactic. Just provide a quality service and people will buy it, you don’t need gimmicks.

  • http://clareyouthere.com/ Clare

    Bravo, Expedia.