Transat holds an intervention for the over-worked

The travel company tricks employees to show the importance of taking a vacation.

According to a recent Ipsos poll, 33% of Canadians have not taken a vacation in two years. In an effort to understand why that might be, Transat staged a “Vacation Intervention” for some deserving workaholics.

Employees from a group of companies were selected for a performance review. All of the employees were valuable to their companies and performed well, but had also neglected to take vacations for long periods of time, in some cases more than four years. So, while each of their reviews started out great, they took a turn once the subject of “vacation performance” came up, leaving the employees to justify why they hadn’t taken a break in so long. The “performance optimization specialist” conducting the review then reveals that he works for Air Transat, and that they would be given a free vacation so that they can fix the one negative aspect of their performance.

Sid Lee led creative on the campaign, with the video also supporting a radio promotion that asks Canadians to nominate a deserving friend, family member or co-worker to win one of 19 vacation packages from Transat.

In 2016, Transat and Sid Lee launched the “Vacation is Calling” platform that took a highly cinematic look at the feeling of anticipation and happiness one gets the second their vacation is booked. Geneviève LeBrun, VP of marketing at Transat, says while the video and contest might be a bit more tactical, it is still focusing on the main brand value (that an impending vacation can bring someone happiness and be transformative) behind the platform.

“A leisure travel company focused on affordable vacations has a broad target audience,” she says. “We felt these stories of your average Canadian, who show a lot of passion and commitment, would be more relatable to some people.”

While the mass market “Vacation is Calling” content tends to be more about establishing what the Transat brand stands for, LeBrun says the company has fleshed out its online video content over the last year. The centre of that is a series of videos where Transat staff visit one of the destinations it serves, going through its best kept secrets, advice on things to do and expressing the reasons why it is a place they love to visit. The tone of these videos is more fun than the aspirational nature of the mass market videos, which is what it wanted to strike with “Vacation Intervention.”

“Instead of speaking to the converted who are already researching their destination, we’re showing people that taking a vacation would be priceless even though it’s not on their radar,” LeBrun says. “Interest for traveling abroad is still high, but there are many people who should consider holidays more than they are… we are looking at connecting emotionally with Canadians we hadn’t reached yet with videos that play a different tone and express our value proposition differently.”