Did the Trivago Guy Just Lose His TV Gig?

Credit: skift.com


Move over Trivago Guy. A couple of Trivago Gals, including Australian actress Gabrielle Miller, have been touting the hotel search engine on U.S. TV. Trivago

Skift Take: Did the U.S. Trivago Guy just get William Shatnered? Like Shatner for Priceline.com, actor Tim Williams, who had become omnipresent on TV in the U.S. for Trivago, has hardly been seen over the last couple of weeks. It's good for brands to freshen things up and female empowerment ads are trending.

— Dennis Schaal

Love him or hate him, find him sexy or creepy, actor Tim Williams — who has been the pitchman for Trivago on U.S. TV — has saturated the airwaves over the past three years. But the Trivago Guy apparently has been phased out over the last couple of weeks in favor of the Trivago Gal.

Or two Trivago Gals, actually. (The company sometimes refers to the talent as Mr. or Mrs. Trivago.)

Even actor William Shatner, the veteran pitchman for rival Priceline.com as The Negotiator, got killed off, brought back, and repurposed for voice-overs in TV commercials.

Actress Gabrielle Miller, who was born in Australia, premiered on U.S. TV in a few Trivago commercials at the beginning of April. But her “Ideal Hotel for the Best Rate” ad [embedded below] really popped in its national airings, says Jason Damata, a spokesman for advertising analytics firm iSpot.tv. She’s also appeared in Trivago ads in the UK and Ireland.

Since the beginning of April, Miller’s ad “has already generated the highest digital response rate  (searches, social actions expressly linked to an ad airing) to date of any [of Trivago’s] English language creative,” Damata said. “That means of the 29 unique ads Trivago has run this year, it is among the top three in terms of bang for the buck.”

Trivago has allocated about $305,000 for national airings of the ad in the U.S. since its debut April 4, according to iSpot.tv estimates.

Tech companies in travel and outside the sector are generally known for fostering a test-and-learn culture, and that certainly extends to the TV advertising efforts of Trivago, which directed 87 percent of its revenue last year toward marketing.

Asked to explain the apparent fading out of the Trivago Guy commercials in the U.S., Trivago spokeswoman Bianca Delbao said: “As I’m sure you already know, Trivago is, of course, a test-driven company. Though we don’t publicly disclose our advertising strategy.”

Trivago usually has more than 25 commercials running at any given time in the U.S. and has run 29 unique ads since the beginning of the year.

The company is also testing commercials, such as “Loads of Research” [embedded below] and “Before You Book” in the U.S. market, featuring a second Trivago Gal, Danish actress Emma Nok Leth. She has also appeared in Trivago commercials in France.

Did TV Viewers Get Sick of the Trivago Guy?

Since Trivago is constantly running tests of its TV advertising, we can’t be certain that the Trivago Guy’s demise is permanent. Delbao of Trivago wouldn’t answer the question about his fate in its commercials and actor Williams didn’t respond to a request for comment.

So why the sudden switch? Were TV viewers getting sick of the Trivago Guy given how often his face interrupted ABC or MSNBC broadcasts? The character’s ads, when they first appeared in 2014, seemed to have a polarizing effect on viewers. Some derided his open collar, belt-less low-hanging pants and scruffy look while others saw him as irresistible. His ads were effective though. “They put billions of impressions on that guy in the last year,” Damata said.

The metrics don’t show the Trivago Guy’s ads “slagging,” Damata said, and it’s good for brands to alternate frontmen — or frontwomen — from time to time.

“There’s no hard evidence that shows any real slide in terms of attention,” Damata said.

In general, advertisers are seeing good traction with “female empowerment ads,” he said, adding that Trivago’s advertisements this year are hitting more of a female audience (53 percent female versus 47 percent male).

Actually, there has been more than one Trivago Guy in the U.S.: Actor Gonzalo Peña has served as the Trivago pitchman in Latin America and in Spanish-language commercials in the U.S. for the last couple of years. See “Entra a Trivago” [embedded below].

“The Spanish language ads do very well for Trivago when it comes to driving views, searches and social,” says Damata of iSpot.tv.

Regardless of the actors in front of the camera, this is a high-stakes game for Trivago and competitors. In the last two weeks alone, Trivago spent some $8.8 million on U.S. TV advertising, iSpot.tv estimates.

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