Same same, but different: Traveloka next to create 'no design budget' ad

Traveloka has unveiled a series of "low-budget" looking ads to promote its upcoming mega sale in Singapore, titled "Traveloka Singapore Epic Sale". Posted across its Facebook and Instagram platforms, Traveloka used seemingly unpolished ads with working boxes around its text and images. In one particular Instagram post, Traveloka also posted a picture of one of its out-of-home (OOH) ads that features an ad presented on a Microsoft Word document.

The ad was accompanied with the caption: "Did we really just create a billboard without design budget? Well, it was a choice between giving you guys an epic discount or this. Easy decision."

traveloka ig sale ad

If you are wondering why this marketing execution rings a bell, it may be because Subway used a similar marketing messaging when it was promoting its Meat Stack sub last year in October. Subway created "unpolished" ads that it claimed to be created by an intern.

Running across both Singapore and Malaysia market, Subway said in one of its ads that it had to choose between using fresh meat for a hypervalue sub with poor marketing, or just a typical sub with professionals dictating its ads.

subway lowbudget 2 

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Pascal Gekko, head of international accommodation, Traveloka, said the main inspiration behind the artwork of its "no design budget ads" was taken from a similar sale it ran in Indonesia in 2020, where its OOH was presented in an email screenshot. "The OOH placement generated a lot of buzz on social media. We wanted to see how we could bring that successful guerilla campaign from Indonesia to Singapore, whilst showcasing the brand’s fun side in this relatively new market," Gekko said. 

Gekko also said that the ads were created by putting its audience first. "We knew Singaporeans would resonate with a brand that’s honest and bold enough to poke fun at themselves. We knew we had an absolutely incredible sale that would sell itself, so it came down to doing copy-based ads, stripped of its usual enticing holiday visuals," he added. 

"We really did go all out with the discount and cut back on everything else, including the design of our ads. All the static visuals you see on OOH, social media and our own media have been developed internally. So indeed, a big chunk of our marketing budget was channelled into the sale itself," Gekko said.

While Traveloka claims its ads are done in-house, Subway's previous ads were done in collaboration with its creative agency VaynerMedia APAC. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Subway and VaynerMedia for a statement.

While bearing much resemblance, Traveloka is not the only brand to have created a similar marketing messaging that tells consumers that it cut on design budget to bring the best products to them. In November last year, Circles.Life also created a poorly-designed ad for its Black Friday sale, paying homage to Subway's Meat Stack sub ad a month ago. The ad, which was pictured to be done on Microsoft Paint, said that the telco spent all its marketing budget giving its consumers "unlimited everything". It even cheekily signed off the art work as James, aged 25. 
 

circles.life black friday

Marketing crucial for Traveloka's sale
 

Besides creating these "no design budget" ads, Traveloka's Gekko also told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE it is looking to promote its mega sale through 360 degree marketing activities to catch the attention of its audience mix in Singapore that can build their interests, desire, then turn it into actions. Traveloka will be focused on leveraging on every marketing channel, and amplifying its earned and organic marketing channels for the campaign.

"With the growing needs of frugality and low-cost reach, growing fields of expertise in search engine optimisation, content marketing, social media, and community marketing would complete the conventional marketing channel. Lastly, utilising new marketing channels such as livestreaming and new social media platforms such as Telegram were also part of the strategy," Gekko added.  

Earlier last month, Traveloka also launched the same mega sale in Indonesia. It reportedly partnered with over 27,000 of its business partners for the sale, which is aimed to revive the tourism sector in Indonesia. Quoting VP of market management accommodation at Traveloka, John Safenson, Kompas said the sale is an opportunity to help its business partners boost sales, as well as encourage consumers in Indonesia to keep travelling and purchasing travel and lifestyle products. The sale will consist of travel and lifestyle products that will be heavily discounted, some even up to 80%, Safenson added.

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