HomeAway Rolls Out ‘The World’s Most Customizable Commercial Ever’
as Part of Campaign Premiering During Super Bowl XLV


  • Campaign kicks off Super Bowl Sunday with debut of new 30-second commercial that challenges travelers to ask themselves “Why hotel when you can HomeAway?™”
  • 60-second customizable version of the commercial enables consumers to star in the spot by putting their face onto a test baby – a central character in the ad – and choosing to “smush,” “smash” or “catch” the baby
  • HomeAway customers – vacation rental property owners and managers – may also feature their homes in the customizable ad, during a scene that becomes a personalized virtual home tour and marketing tool


AUSTIN, TX, January 31, 2011 HomeAway, Inc. – the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace – today announced details of its new national marketing campaign, which officially debuts on Feb. 6, 2011, with a 30-second spot during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLV and features a fully customizable experience at http://detourism.homeaway.com in which viewers insert photos of themselves and/or their properties into a commercial.

Designed to communicate the message, “Why hotel when you can HomeAway?,” the campaign features the fictional “Minister of Detourism” in a top-secret government testing facility where he highlights the pitfalls of cramped hotel rooms and showcases the benefits of vacation rentals – privacy, space and freedom.

In the 30-second spot, a family is seen in a “hotel room simulator,” where they suffer from “limited space syndrome” and struggle to get comfortable in the cramped quarters. Then, in a humorous chain reaction, a “test baby” – similar to a crash dummy – is accidentally launched into the air where it ultimately smushes up against the glass of the hotel room simulator before sliding slowly to the floor.

“We used the test baby scene to create a ‘Super Bowl-worthy’ moment that breaks through the clutter of so many ads,” says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway®. “While everyone loves babies and wouldn’t want to see a real infant get mistakenly flung into the air, we hope viewers will get a good laugh from our test baby’s unfortunate flight. The comic situation is used to highlight the fact that families, particularly those with children, could use a little extra space when traveling.”

The World’s Most Customizable Commercial Ever

An extended version of the Super Bowl ad includes a fully customizable experience at http://detourism.homeaway.com, where users may upload a picture of their face – or that of friends or family – and put it on the test baby before selecting one of three scenes: “smush” (in which the test baby’s face smushes against the glass), “smash” (in which the baby is propelled through the room’s glass wall), or “catch” (in which the baby is launched into the air and caught by the Minister of Detourism). The uploaded face is rendered three-dimensionally and provides three distinct and surprising options, each that are easy to share via email, Facebook and Twitter.

HomeAway also has a customizable version for vacation rental owners and property managers who list their homes on one of HomeAway’s U.S. sites, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com. In essence, they insert their properties in the actual commercial to create a virtual home tour of their vacation rental using Google Maps, photos of their property and the voice of the Minister of Detourism.

“We’ve taken personalization to a whole new level with this campaign,” says Sharples. “Travelers can have fun starring in the commercial, and vacation rental owners can feature their properties in the ad to send to friends, past guests and potential renters as a fun way to showcase their homes.”

Additional components of the new marketing campaign include:

  • Online Video Content – Additional videos from the “Ministry of Detourism” can be found on http://detourism.homeaway.com, including a spoof on the history of hotels; a video showing the Ministry’s “hotel keycard test” in which a man’s arm falls off after several attempts to open his room with a deactivated keycard; and a video of the Ministry’s “hotel guest sleeping test” in which a family struggles to catch some sleep when staying next to a heavy metal band.
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  • Social Media – HomeAway is leveraging social media to spread the word about the campaign and drive visitors to HomeAway.com to create and share customized videos. The company’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts will also be updated regularly with new campaign content at http://www.facebook.com/HomeAway, http://twitter.com/HomeAway and http://www.youtube.com/homeawayvacation.
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  • Online Advertising – A complementary digital advertising plan will reach consumers in HomeAway’s targeted demographic. Online advertising will appear on general interest and travel-focused web sites.
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The new campaign was developed by Austin, Texas-based ad agency Vendor Inc. For more information, visit the Ministry of Detourism on HomeAway.com.

For information contact:
Eileen Buesing
Director of Global Public Relations HomeAway, Inc.
Office- 512-493-0375
ebuesing@homeaway.com