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Airbnb strike emotional chord celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall

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A new national US campaign from Airbnb, the website that allows users to rent out their own homes to tourists and vice versa, uses the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to tell an emotionally engaging story about two men from opposite sides of the wall meeting years later through the website. The campaign focuses on a 75 second film called “Wall & Chain,” but also features a bespoke microsite built around the tagline “Belong Anywhere,” which hosts interviews with those involved in the story, background information and downloadable wallpapers. The campaign was created by VCCP Berlin, and the film was animated by the New York-based Psyop. Media buying for the campaign has been handled by Starcom.

Wall & Chain: A Story Of Breaking Down Walls

The spot (above) focuses on the true story of Jörg and Kai, two former border guards who met more than 20 years later through Airbnb, when Jörg and his daughter Catherine (who narrates the story) ended up staying with Kai and becoming friends. The story suggests that the meeting freed Jörg of the burden he'd been carrying since the fall, and according to the microsite, is “A testament to the power of hospitality and resilience of the human spirit.” Besides being promoted online and through social media, the film will also be broadcast on national US TV networks such as NBC and CNN alongside programming dedicated to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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The campaign focuses on a 75 second film called “Wall & Chain,” which uses the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to tell an emotionally engaging story

Jonathan Mildenhall, chief marketing officer at Airbnb, said that “Great content and storytelling is so important now for any brand,” and as a company driven by community, they didn't just want to discuss their product in a traditional manner, but instead to put the Airbnb community “Front and centre” of the campaign. He believes that true stories, like that of Catherine, Jörg and Kai, “Capture the spirit of Airbnb,” and brings their mission to life “In a totally unique and authentic way.”

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014

In using a true story in order to illustrate the power of its brand, the campaign is following in the footsteps of such works as the Google Maps “Homeward Bound” campaign and just about every John Lewis Christmas advert in the last 5 years. Speaking of which, this year's two-minute festive commercial for the department store debuted over the weekend on these shores, and has already sparked a shopping frenzy for “Monty,” the cuddly penguin which features in the spot. Indeed, the toy has proven so popular that the stuffed bird has been sold on eBay for more than £500.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK. He was actually rather moved by the “Wall & Chain” spot, though remains completely unmoved by the John Lewis ad. Despite his genuine love of all things penguin related.

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