'Transkind' Airbnb Spot to Air After Caitlyn Jenner ESPY Win
The ad will be a variation of an ad released online earlier this week, featuring voice-over by Angela Bassett and a baby walking toward a door. That ad -- which challenges viewers to go look through other people's "windows so you can understand their views, sit at their tables so you can share their tastes" -- will start running on TV in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. Both ads were created by TBWA/Chiat/Day.
Airbnb, however, seized the opportunity to support Ms. Jenner.
"Transgender personalities are kind of the next group who the media needs to shine a very warm, welcoming and celebrated light on," said Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall.
The "Is Mankind?" campaign, focusing on inclusion and universal human kindness, wasn't going to pivot off of Ms. Jenner originally; it was going to focus on racial harmony. But with Airbnb's history of LGBT support, the moment was right for a tailored, one-off special spot, Mr. Mildenhall said.
Released a few weeks ago, a video featuring a trans person with his partner and two same-sex couples called "Love is Welcome Here: Our #HostWithPride Film," is an example of the company's LGBT-inclusive efforts.
"I just wish there were more brands out there who were doing active work and pushing people," said Mr. Mildenhall.
Does Airbnb fear backlash from people who aren't ready for pro-trans messaging?
"We're not worried about that at all," Mr. Mildenhall said. Take Coke's "Hilltop" ad for example, he said. The ad featured people of different ethnicities singing together, and without the Internet or much international travel, people didn't see as much diversity as they do today. The ad was powerful at the time, and Mr. Mildenhall's mother was shocked by it.
"If you lean into groups of people who are being ignored by marketers, the halo effect on your brand can be phenomenal," Mr. Mildenhall said, adding that the effect can last for years. Still, the Internet isn't always a kind place, and Mr. Mildenhall is bracing himself. "I am prepared for my inbox to be flooded with haters who are challenging the position of inclusion... It's not going to be accepted by everyone."
The ESPYs, a sports-centered award show created by ESPN, will air on sibling network ABC at 8 p.m. ET. tonight.