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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Citi Travel: Way to Go

Audience Honor in Sound & Music


Customers have many options when booking travel. Our challenge was to get Citi cardmembers to break old habits and to consider Citi’s newly launched travel portal, Citi Travelâ„  with, when booking their next trip. This was a sizeable, untapped opportunity for Citi to change the way it interacted with its customers, deepening engagement by offering a whole new world of travel options.


Citi set out to make a splash in the marketplace through creative that could drive awareness, get consumers to think about planning their next adventure and then ultimately initiate bookings. To compete with parity programs and bring the portal to life, Citi planned to leverage a unique creative platform: “Way to Go” — a double entendre that would reinforce Citi Travel as the best way to book while also offering up a personal congratulations, whether that be for booking a flight or hotel, dream vacation or business trip.


The timing of the portal’s launch was particularly opportune, as people were eager to travel for a bit of escapism and change in scenery coming out of the pandemic. However, “post-COVID” wanderlust would come with challenges for consumers, like new travel restrictions to navigate compounded by the multiple touch points required to book a trip of their dreams. That said, Citi had the chance to show up as a trusted partner that can help make the booking experience more seamless and rewarding, yielding emotional benefits like excitement, confidence, comfort and delight.

Strategy and Execution

To engender wanderlust and motivate people to explore the new platform, Citi created anthemic videos with evocative music showcasing bucket list destinations to inspire consumers to think about how Citi Travel could enable their journeys.


Each vignette speaks to a different reason to believe that Citi Travel is a smarter way to travel, like on-the-go booking with the Citi Mobile® App, 24/7 customer support or over 1.4 million worldwide accommodations. Highlighting these competitive features serves as a means to communicate that Citi Travel is something that offers convenience, support and opportunity to explore. It was important to showcase a variety of travel experiences as well as a diversity of customers to convey that Citi Travel is meant to be accessible to all kinds of travelers — whether an adventure-seeking couple, a traditional family of three or a group of friends looking for fun.


The spot opens with a man in his 60s who, upon using the travel portal, as if by magic, is instantly transported from his bathtub to a luxurious pool in a tropical destination. This is just the first of many vignettes that leverages a creative device intended to make booking a trip with Citi Travel appear almost as easy as teleporting.


The next scene shows a group of friends at home making sushi, who spontaneously book last-minute flights to Tokyo using their ThankYou® Points, after which they’re immediately transported to a Japanese karaoke bar. We then cut to a scene of a couple driving home from work and stuck in traffic. Together, they decide to book a rental car, which sends them to a luxury convertible in Buenos Aires, where they drive into the sunset. Lastly, we see a family in bed at home, and each time they swipe through a different hotel on their tablet, we match cut to them in a new location.


From start to finish, the creative leans into big band swing music to set the stage and mood until the joyous moment arrives when you finally decide to book a trip. The music score was crucial to seamlessly guiding the viewer through four unique travel scenarios, and the emotional crescendo of the score punctuates what can be seen on-screen. It then takes it further by practically integrating the music into certain scenes, like when the couple is frustrated in a traffic jam; the music matches their mood and actions with slow and low drumbeats until they book their trip and arrive at their destination in South America, which is punctuated by faster and more vibrant trumpet sounds. This was an intentional mechanism to help the viewer experience the spectrum of emotions that come with traveling, ultimately leaving them with a powerful, loud sense of celebration.


As a collective, the vignettes and the thoughtful music scoring establish Citi Travel as a one-stop booking option that can help you discover and book your next getaway with ease, joy and a bit of magic.


Citi first launched the video in an email that was delivered to roughly 5.8MM Citi cardmembers, yielding about 2.5MM unique opens and 37,674 unique clicks. The video itself generated 10,837 player impressions, 7,542 plays, 5,114 minutes viewed and a 75% average completion rate.


Through a paid media campaign leveraging a range of high-impact video tactics, the creative proved successful, driving significant lifts in brand favorability (+7 ppt) and perception of Citi as an innovative brand (+8 ppt) among Citi customers exposed. It generated 74MM impressions, 329K clicks and a 41% VCR rate; plus, the campaign yielded almost 500 confirmed bookings.


Despite the fact the campaign could not be measured against particular benchmarks (i.e., it was not typical in that the goal was to drive bookings on a travel site vs the usual KPI of card acquisitions) — overall, the launch of this creative was considered a success for Citi, as it helped announce the launch of a new product that would transform the booking experience for its customers.


This campaign all lived within Citi’s broader For the Love of Progress platform — punctuating the work and reminding consumers of Citi’s broader mission to be a trusted partner to support their financial goals.


Video for Citi Travel: Way to Go

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Publicis One Team, Citi

Entry Credits