How On the Beach’s cheeky plan helped it compete with the package holiday giants

Keen to avoid the “PPC slug-fest”, On the Beach developed a TV campaign to subvert Christmas ad season and reflect Britain’s unashamed love of a package holiday.

On the Beach MW Awards
Source: On the Beach

On the Beach decided to challenge the package holiday giants with a pledge to make its customers’ jollies jollier.

Realising relying on capturing generic search was a “race to the bottom”, the online travel agent set its sights on attracting a ‘Pleasure Seeker’ audience with an unashamed love for package holidays.

This wasn’t going to be easy given consumers couldn’t articulate any specific benefits to On the Beach, while its awareness and consideration were far below its established rivals.

Determined to turn this around, the brand decided to differentiate itself through ‘perks’, such as free airport lounge access and fast track security.

To promote the perks strategy, On the Beach devised a campaign subverting the classic Christmas song The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, which made its TV debut on Christmas Day 2021. Rather than a family desperate to open their presents, the creative shows their delight at having booked their summer holiday with On the Beach.

Running across TV, BVOD and radio until May, the campaign reached more than 85% of all adults and ran alongside sponsorship of comedian Alan Carr’s Life’s A Beach podcast. The On the Beach office was even redecorated to reflect the new branding and its business strategy updated.

The campaign drove a 56% improvement in spontaneous awareness, 11% rise in consideration and 115% uplift in ad awareness, helping the brand win the Marketing Week Award for Travel, Tourism and Hospitality. Crucially, On the Beach’s share of branded search reached parity with Jet2, while 75% of its target audience said the ad made them more likely to visit the website.