UK tour operator Virgin Holidays is co-ordinating a Twitter competition with a live television advert to kickstart its new "Seize the Holiday" campaign.
Head of brand Jay Kossofis said a live TV ad will resonate more closely with a digital and social audience used to real-time interactions.
"Broadcast is usually seen in linear terms by brands - people know that an ad is shot months before it is shown and the social media elements of a campaign come after that. But Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are as good as live and we think that the second screening trend helps drive real-time interactions." he said.
The live 60 second advert will be broadcast during ITV's X Factor this weekend. Virgin has film crews at 18 of its destinations around the world who will film genuine customers on holiday. The footage will be transmitted to ITN's production studios and edited in real-time for broadcast on Saturday evening.
The first episode of the current series attracted 6.8 million viewers, down on previous years but was still the UK's most watched Saturday night show.
The Twitter competition will offer holidays to the destinations shown on the advert as prizes. "We will tease the competition through other short TV imprints over the next day or so," he said.
Virgin is also engaging with its customers via Instagram in a clever use of digital out-of-home technology - digital billboards at locations such as London's Waterloo Station will access and display images posted to Virgin Holiday's Instagram account using the hashtag #seizetheholiday.
"We've been in touch with our database of clients to let them know that they can be part of the campaign and we've got our staff involved as well," he said. Virgin Holidays has just under 100 retail outlets which only sell Virgin Holidays product. Its estate includes six V-Room Retail Lounges, which it describes as concept stores.
As well as using its customers to promote the brand, it is also working with a dozen or so "social influencers". The idea, again, is based around real-time, with live footage of the influencers in resort fed back to their networks. Facebook Live will be used to enhance the reach.
"We work with influencers over a period of months, rather than just on a one-0ff basis, so we develop a richer relationship with them and their audience," he added.
Kossofis declined to talk about how much the campaign was costing but said that its spend on social media advertising channels was five times up on last year and that the biggest increase was on Instagram. Overall Virgin Holidays' marketing budget is the same as last year.
"Seize the Holiday isn't hugely expensive, it's hugely ambitious," he said.
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