5x Unforgettable travel ads: The best commercials of all time

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Are you an aspiring filmmaker or marketer who wants to create unforgettable ad campaigns for clients? Or are you an avid traveller who wants to see what tourism boards have been up to to promote their country or destination? The first place to start is by watching commercials to see the style, elements, and tone that advertisers use to draw their audience in.
One of the best industries to create advertisements for is the travel industry. You have plenty of creative freedom to make travel commercials that are either witty, humorous, or whimsical. If you’re not sure where to start, then perhaps the following unforgettable advertisements will spark innovative ideas that will help you create memorable ads.

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Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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Iceland – OutHorse Your Emails

Iceland is one of the most magical travel destinations on earth. But the one thing that can spoil your vacation is receiving work emails while you’re trying to relax in a hot pool. In a witty commercial, Iceland declares that they’ve created the perfect solution for travelers – “outhorse your emails.”

In the advertisement it shows real horses using gigantic keyboards to respond to emails. The sound of the keyboard is realistic as horses trot over them. Your production team can use a similar sound effects download for your radio or TV commercial to make it stand out.

This ad goes on to explain that the horses are trained in corporate buzzwords, so your boss will never know the difference while you’re relaxing or sightseeing. This humorous travel commercial simply shows how creative countries can get in an attempt to attract new tourists. 

Sweden’s Spellbound Campaign

Are you a fan of horror movies, macabre or mystery? Sweden targeted a specific audience with their Spellbound campaign. It invites people who are attracted to mystery and dark aesthetics using eerie sounds.

The commercial was created in such a way that it would only become available to Spotify listeners if they visited locations in Sweden. Whether you’re watching the commercial or listening to the audio, you get the same creepy yet inviting experience.

VISA – Travel Happy Ad

One of the most popular advertisements that was played in cinemas before a movie started is the Travel Happy commercial. It showed a man dancing in different parts of the world. The person in the advert was Matt Harding, who is considered one of the original influencers.

Matt went viral after he uploaded a video of himself dancing in different countries. He made the video for fun, but it caught the attention of a large company – VISA. The card company worked together with Matt, and he became the face of their Travel Happy campaign.

This advert showed that dance will always break cultural barriers and bring people together.

Discover Ireland – Doors of Thrones

The Game of Thrones TV series based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin took the entire world by storm. Part of the show was filmed in Ireland’s Dark Hedges, which became Kingsway in the show.

During a raging storm in January 2016, two trees were knocked down in the area, but this gave three major companies an idea. HBO, along with Tourism Ireland and Publicis and Carat took the wood from the trees that fell and created 10 Game of Thrones-themed doors.

The doors were installed in buildings and landmarks where the show was filmed and in hotels and pubs. It became part of the Door of Thrones campaign, which won three awards from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Travel Oregon – Only Slightly Exaggerated

Travel commercials use stunning images and cinematography to showcase the best parts of a country. But in 2018, Travel Oregon created the Only Slightly Exaggerated campaign that showed Oregon landscapes in the style of Studio Ghibli.

The idea was that commercials always exaggerate how great their products are. Travel Oregon used this as inspiration to create a dream-like cartoon of the mountains and landscapes in the area. This is to give tourists the belief that there are secrets and magic that Oregon olds and to discover its mysteries, they need to see it for themselves.

There were a couple of different commercials created under this campaign that gave tourists an idea of what adventures they can experience when they visit Oregon.

original travel commercials

Final Thoughts

Travel commercials allow you to bring your creative vision to life, whether you’re using animations or specific audio to draw your audience in. The commercials mentioned in this post all have unique elements that may appeal to certain demographics more than others.

Use these travel commercials as inspiration when creating adverts for your company or campaigns. Adverts that have a unique twist to them quickly become iconic!

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In this article you'll find a few affiliate links. When you book something with these travel organizations, I get a small commission. You don't pay anything extra for that. You can thus see it as a way to support this blog if you found the information helpful. I use all of these travel organizations myself, and I will only recommend the ones that I really like.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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