Trivago’s AI-Powered Ad Campaign Gets Mixed Global Reaction



Trivago Guy Commercial 2023

Skift Take

The new Trivago ads tend to be one-size fits all, except for languages, and may be too generic to be effective in some parts of the world. Trivago will likely scrap them or adapt them until they resonate.

A revamped Trivago Guy campaign, this one using just one actor whose monologue is powered by AI, is getting a mixed reaction in the 20 or so markets it’s running in around the world.

During Trivago’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 earnings call Wednesday, CEO Johannes Thomas said there were “promising” results to the brand campaign in its Developed Europe and Rest of the World (Japan, Australia Turkey, Israel and India) regions.

“The response in the Americas has been mixed with North America performing better than LATAM,” he said.

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Trivago’s Americas region includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay.

Trivago’s Brand Strategy Change

The strategy to use one actor to play “Mr. Trivago” in the commercials worldwide, speaking in multiple languages via AI, is a radical switch from the brand strategy that made Trivago a household name in many countries. Until a few years ago, Trivago used multiple actors, men and women, from around the world.

So consider this screenshot from a Trivago ad that ran in Brazil a decade ago versus the generic one in multiple languages that powers the current global campaign. The first one shown below is clearly more localized; the second one is more cost-effective in terms of production, and can be adapted more quickly.

Asked to provide more color about the regional differences, Thomas told Skift via email: “The spots delivered on expectations, and we rolled out a second version with the same actor.

“On Performance, we are seeing promising initial results across all segments. In our Americas segment, LATAM has room for improvement. We are continuously optimising our brand budget allocation as well as our TV creatives. Over time, we anticipate these efforts will enhance the efficiency of our marketing investments and expect to see the compounding effects materialize in the course of the year.”

YouTube Comments About Trivago’s AI-Powered Ad Campaign

The campaign drew comments on YouTube, including:

“He looks AI.”

“Why is he dressed like Paddington Bear?”

“Bring back Trivago guy.”

“Why did you replace him with AI? I bet I can do a better job.”

Google Cookies and Digital Markets Act

In other Trivago news from its fourth-quarter earnings, Thomas said the company’s priorities in consecutive order were to grow brand advertising; improve the appearance and relevancy of hotel listings, and deploy the best deal discovery experience.

Trivago doesn’t expect any material impact from Google’s decisions to stop using cookies in Google Chrome because that won’t impact Trivago’s brand advertising and performance marketing efforts, he said.

It’s too early to assess the changes that the European Union is forcing on Google as part of the Digital Markets Act, Thomas said. He noted that Google is no longer linking off to its Google Hotels page in Europe, and instead added a “card” in Google search that lists offers from online travel agencies, metas and hotels.

Thomas said Google has “increased the exposure” of price comparison sites. “And we have launched and participated in that auction across all relevant markets in order to to learn and gain share if we if we see conversion rates,” he added.



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