Airbnb, a service just five years young, has rapidly become the largest lodging brand in the hotel industry and somehow, it’s managed to fly under the radar for so many in the traveling world. The hugely successful, highly unconventional brand hosts a platform for people to lease their homes to interested travelers and select their own rate—most of which are offered at much, much lower costs than hotels. The magic is that travelers get to sleep in a well-loved and cared for home, totally unique from the usual B&B. And as a testament to its wonder, Airbnb’s success has sky-rocketed almost entirely through word of mouth alone.
As difficult as it is to imagine branding a company that’s already done so much without marketing (think 500,000 properties, operated by about 350,000 hosts, in 192 countries and more than 34,000 cities) Airbnb was ready to take the plunge, and called on the expert SF-based creatives at Pereira & O’Dell (POD) for help. Together, they created a project that became much more than your average ad campaign; it was a compilation of art that culminated in a dreamlike event, preserved in video form. Birdbnb captures the totally unique host-guest community fostered by Airbnb by exploring bird houses.
Creatives at POD used Airbnb themselves to get a taste for their offerings. In the process, the POD team hosted and guested alike, and enjoyed the care they put into their homes in preparation for welcoming their inbound guests. It became obvious to them that the service offered much more than a way to make or save a few bucks. Jaime Robinson, Executive Creative Director at POD, buzzed about the sense of community and hospitality each of them felt immediately. She explains, “Regular dudes putting out flowers, leaving out snacks and wine, being hosts—it becomes more than making a few bucks. It was a labor of love.” By seeing their guests and new friends come and go, the bird metaphor was born.
The team looked into some of the most unique properties on Airbnb—including London’s Converted Water Tower and San Francisco’s Charming Victorian—and hired seven artists to live in each of them and recreate them at bird scale. They too, fell in love, and as Robinson explains, “Only when everyone involved believes in the project can a campaign like this one come together.” Each artist constructed a handful of beautifully crafted birdhouses to match Airbnb’s most interesting properties. With 50 miniature dream-homes in hand, they shipped out to New Orleans, the home of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds—the ultimate travelers. For this, there was no better place to set up camp than under the Tree of Life in Audubon Park.
Just as Robinson described the homes as incredibly unique, once-in-a-lifetime places to stay—POD produced an event to be similarly memorable. The Birdbnb video “Home to You” is living proof, as birds swoop in and poke around, all as the humans who set up their homes watch from below. It all makes for quite a dream-like scene under Louisiana’s most beloved tree.
If you find yourself in New Orleans this weekend, 21-22 December, be sure to stop by the Tree of Life in Audubon Park. The 50 Birdbnb creations will be hanging from its branches once more for their migratory residents. Check out Birdbnb for a 360-degree view of the birdhouses and details on each, and Airbnb if you fall in love and need to book a visit.
Images courtesy of Airbnb and Pereira & O’Dell