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Hotwire Urges You to Take That Vacation Before Dying a Sudden, Gruesome Death


YOLO advertising tropes are going strong: In a perfect example, a new set of ads from online travel agency Hotwire urges you to take a trip ... because you might just get hit by a bus. 

In an ad titled "Near Death," one of four new 30-second spots by San Francisco agency Heat, a man steps absent-mindedly into oncoming traffic, screams when he realizes his error, and flashes forward to a nude beach in Monterey that he's always wanted to visit—replete with general awkwardness, well-placed accessories to ensure modesty, and confusion about where to put sunscreen.

Watch it spoiler-free here:

All's well that ends well for the dreamer. The driver slams on the brakes in time, and our hero lives to sunbathe—and tan the parts he maybe shouldn't—another day.

With the tagline "Be slightly adventurous," launched last year by Heat, the campaign conveys a cheeky, free-spirited, live-for-now appeal to millennial values that's increasingly popular among brands. Competitor Travelocity launched its own such campaign less than two weeks ago, under the banner "Wander Wisely." However is a bright-eyed twentysomething to choose?

That said, this is also the kind of strong comedic writing that helped the agency—purchased late last month by Deloitte—win honors like Adweek's Breakthrough Agency of the Year in 2015. The other ads are solid, too, while targeting different demographics. 

Channeling the TV series True Blood, the second ad features a woman in a checkout line, fantasizing about meeting a handsome vampire while vacationing in New Orleans.

In the third, a family road trip turns a pair of bratty teens into a wholesome American brother and sister duo.

The best, though might be the fourth, wherein a couple forgo a backlog of laundry for a trip to New York, and follow a group of gaudily dressed revelers into a banging dance party. It's a little more realistic, and subtle—with a visual punch line that viewers will miss if they blink. Those characteristics pay dividends in humor. 

Alas, the laundry will still be there when the party people get home.


Client: Hotwire
Spot: "Near Death"

Agency: Heat
Executive Creative Director: Steve Stone
Creative Director: Mike Duckworth
Associate Creative Director: Nichole Geddes
ACD/Copywriter: Mary Unger
Senior Producer: Monica Wilkins
Director of Production: Brian Coate
Director of Client Service: Aaron Lang
Account Director: Olivia Balicki
Account Manager: Sarah Behrens
Business Affairs: Julie Petruzzo

Production Company: Knucklehead
Executive Producer: Cathleen Kisich
Director: Rob Leggatt
Edit and Finish: Hutch and Co Technologies
Editor: Jim Hutchins
Assistant Editor: Patrick O'leary
Online Artist: Austin Hickman-Fain
Executive Producer: Jane Hutchins

Color: MPC
Colorist: Ricky Gausis
Color assist: Dimitri Rajapakse
Executive Producer: Meghan Lang
Associate Producer: Rebecca Boorsma

Audio Record and Mix: One Union
Engineer: Eben Carr
Producer: Lauren Mask
VO: Tom Kane

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