Away’s Holiday Ads Capture the Surreal Nature of Pandemic Travel

“As a brand that touches both retail and travel industries, we knew this holiday season…

“As a brand that touches both retail and travel industries, we knew this holiday season was going to be very different from any we’ve experienced before,” Selena Kalvaria, Away’s chief marketing officer, tells Muse. “When first planning our creative campaign, we wanted to react to the harsh realities of 2020 while also providing a sense of escapism and optimism to our community.” 

During creative brainstorming, the team kept coming back to the acknowledgment that “travel this year is weird,” Kalvaria says.

“From there, we played with how that ‘weirdness’ can come to life as a backdrop for the role Away could play in helping our community travel safely and thoughtfully,” she says. “We ultimately landed on a concept that aimed to evoke the surrealist and strange experience of traveling during the pandemic while showing how Away will continue to support our community as they take these journeys.”

They engaged Beatty for his unique style, which Tim Roan, Away’s executive creative director, described as “trippy and mystifying, somewhere between an amazing album cover and the effects of a small dose of psychedelics.”

They also gave him quite a bit of freedom on the project.

“We didn’t want to constrain him or treat him as just a pair of hands, so we kept our brief very simple,” Roan says. “Our guidelines were basically to deliver us a sense of the travel experiences we all recognize, blended with the absurd and unusual. And he nailed it.”