A diverse group of Airbnb hosts and staff representing various races and age groups appear in this minute-long film, "Accept," which touts the service's recently introduced Community Commitment. Poignant in its own right, the spot resonates even more strongly in light of Tuesday's election results.
All Airbnb users must now sign this nondiscrimination pledge, or they won't be allowed to host or book through Airbnb. The policy states, "I agree to treat everyone in the Airbnb community—regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias."
Airbnb unveiled the oath as the month began, following a series of embarrassing episodes of alleged discrimination. Some of these transgressions have been catalogued via the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack.
Produced in-house, "Accept" takes a no-frills approach. Faces of men and women flash by, along with on-screen text that begins, "We believe that no matter who you are, where you're from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong."
"The energy from the election made acceptance all the more important for moving us forward as a global community," says Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall, Adweek's 2016 Brand Genius winner for hospitality marketing.
It's sad, of course, that in this day and age, such policies need to be spelled out, and for that matter, that discrimination of any sort persists. Cynics might say Airbnb is just covering itself, legally and in a PR sense, and of course, on one level, that's true.
Yet, in a broader sense, this Community Commitment serves the brand well and reflects what it's come to represent. Despite some failings, Airbnb transcends its business model, opening vistas for millions every year by making lodgings more affordable and turning dreams of travel into reality. At its best, the guest/host dynamic can deepen cultural understanding (on both sides of the transaction), eliminating fears, misconceptions and feelings of otherness.
"There are 24 faces that only represent a sliver of the diversity we have on the platform," says Mildenhall. "The film's power laid in the faces. It's a lot more difficult to deny to someone while looking them in the eyes."
In times like these, it's comforting to know we're still shaping a world—albeit slowly—in which all of us might someday feel at home, no matter who, or where, we are.
Creative Director: Paul Stechschulte
Creative Lead: Roger Hoard
Lead Designer: Andrea Nguyen
Social Media Manager: Caitlin Choate
Photographer: David Elliott
Assistant Photographer: Ryan Kim
Lead Producer: Anastassia Babanskaia
Animator: Catalina Matamoros
Global Marketing Manager: Franchesca Allen
Managing Director: James Goode
Animator: Jarratt Moody
Post Production: Where The Buffalo Roam
Music: Sonos Sanctus