Post Thumb

Today, travel is an immensely loved activity among the youth. A recent report on Gen-Z behaviour by Omnifluence and Qoruz discovered that Gen-Z is majorly drawn toward travel-based pages on Instagram (in addition to Fashion and cinema). A list of India’s Top Digital Stars in 2022 released by Forbes, too featured four travel-content creators in the top ten. 

While it seems like a contemporary phenomenon, historical data shows travel to have its charm in previous eras too. Travel finds a mention in some of the earliest written records. Meticulous travelogues maintained by the likes of Megasthenes, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Fa-Hien, etc. are now windows into historical spaces. Over the centuries, apart from resulting in an intriguing record-keeping of culture, travel has also formed culture– a culture of exchange, learning, trade, festivals, etc. Presently, travel is associated with a sense of risk, adventure, freedom, and exploration. 

Three decades ago, travel for the Indian middle class meant the annual summer vacation trip to one’s grandparents’ house by train and bus. Travel nowadays is a conscious part of the modern lifestyle. To the youth of today, it is both a break and a bonus - from work and of work. One works hard to be able to travel further and more luxuriously. With the heightened pace of metro life and work, travel also functions as the essential break that slows down the rhythm to a suitable meter. 

Since the trip taken is a time-bound activity, Gen-Z takes to travel pages or the several travel vloggers and backpackers to live in the exotic charm of travel all year round. The popularity of travel and tourism means that even those brands that are not directly related to the category, can delve into travel-based content to woo young consumers. Let’s look at a few examples of brands who have leveraged travel as a content platform: 

Cinthol Alive Adventures 

Cinthol - a brand dealing with bathing and grooming products came up with the Alive Adventures mini-series where different sorts of travellers- bikers, solo travellers, photographers, etc. share their travel tales. The mini-series consisting of six episodes of ten to fifteen minutes not only brings together six travellers but also creates a community of explorers. Their experiences are rooted in the ‘freshness’ that an adventure brings. Since freshness is the USP of Cinthol soaps - that’s how the series achieves a subtle brand connection. The tagline of their campaign is “Alive is Awesome” and this has also been subtly woven into the branded content.

JBL x The Untravel Show - Melody Miles

Melody Miles follows two musicians as they hop from one South Indian hill station to the next in search of musical inspiration. Sponsored by JBL - a music/audio equipment brand, the show covers some picturesque destinations such as Munnar, Coorg, Kodaikanal, etc. The road trip focuses on lesser-known and laidback landmarks like local homestays and vantage points. As is the trend nowadays, the trip is more about the immersive experiences rather than finishing a checklist. So, the audience joining the duo on Melody Miles is taken through a calming journey that is enriched with local history, anecdotes, and of course gorgeous views. Eventually, one also gets to listen to an original song inspired by the journey taken. The song just about reinforces the show’s brand connection with JBL via music. 

Hyundai x MTV - What’s Your Venue 

‘What’s Your Venue’ is a show where a pair of celebrities/social media influencers go around a particular city in Hyundai Venue and “do as the locals do”. As the pair goes around exploring heritage monuments and indulging in local food - the entire trip is documented on their social media through polls and reels, thus garnering hits instantly. The car - Venue is highlighted in various shots. Moreover, its features are blended into the narrative in between stops. 

Oppo x Discovery - Life Unseen 

For Life Unseen, Discovery and Oppo send travellers and photographers to places like Kurseong and Sandakphu where they document local life with help of an Oppo Reno phone. The one travelling to Sandakphu for example tries to capture the local dance, cuisine, and the general understanding of the natives toward spirituality. 

Traveller vs Tourist 

The travel content used by aforementioned brands is more or less user-generated. The ‘vlogger’ travel begins where the ‘tourist’ travel ends. As it is travelling is an extension of one’s freedom that is fated to reduce with time and age. By choosing the traveller experience as opposed to the tourist experience- one increases the degree of freedom. A traveller customises the trip as per her own requirements whereas a tourist mostly has a pre-defined itinerary. From a creator perspective too, travelling beyond the known tourist points- adds both interest and newness to the content. 

Travel as a platform for non-category brands 

Leveraging travel in one’s branded content is an easy and effective way to build brand affinity with youth audiences. By including travel-inspired songs or experiences in the content, the brand achieves a layer of value-addition, too. By creating content on travel, the brand is assuring the continuity of the pleasure of travel to youth audiences, if only from the screen and not in actuality. At the end of the day, travel content is selling aspiration - it is the motivation for working harder. Therefore, investing in travel content is pretty much a fail-safe way to go about creating branded content for a wide range of categories and brands, to attract youth audiences.