Last year, Interesting Development founder Paul Caiozzo joined forces with Deloitte executives to launch Supernatural, a creative agency guided by insights and data from artificial intelligence. The agency’s clients include YouTube, Google, Roman and Kayak, which begins airing a new campaign this week that riffs on the politicization of travel during the pandemic—and pokes fun at a now-familiar character that has emerged in modern-day discourse: "deniers."
The spot, called “Boyfriend,” finds a table of four sitting down for dinner. A young woman whispers to her boyfriend, “Remember that Mom is a Kayak denier, so please don’t bring it up.” She grins as if nothing has happened, but when her boyfriend responds, “Bring what up? Kayak?” a dissonant burst of music signals an unpleasant turn for their evening.
“Excuse me?” says the mother, eyes wide. “Do the research, Todd.” And even though Todd can list off the benefits of booking travel on Kayak, the mother erupts: “They’re lying to you! Open your eyes!” She storms away from the table.
According to Mike Barrett, co-founder and CSO of Supernatural, the agency conceived the creative with help of insights from “the machine,” or the AI platform that delivers the agency’s consumer data. It presented image of how travelers are dealing with COVID that seemed to diverge from popular portrayals.
Barrett said that "what we saw was a group of people who fully understood what was going on around them and fully intended to be responsible, but also were going to get out there and sort of live their lives, which is super different from the media narrative." The agency also found that this demographic didn't take themselves too seriously, so there was room to get a little daring with the storyline.
The creative "taps into the fact that there is nothing big or small that Americans seem to agree on," added Matt Clarke, VP-North America marketing at Kayak. "Our ability to weave Kayak into that construct, tap into culture and produce work that we thought would be funny and make people talk was the driving force."
Although the Kayak spot satirizes political rifts, Caiozzo added that one of the benefits of Supernatural’s machine-guided concepts is its lack of bias.
“The machine addresses inherent biases found in agencies and clients. We all tend to be extremely liberal on both sides of the fence and the entire country is not," said Caiozzo. "And when you have a client that's selling a product to everybody, I think it's easy to block out those perspectives that you don't agree with. But the machine doesn't do that. The machine can only return back what is factual.”
Caiozzo said that another creative factor for the campaign was timing. With the holidays fresh on viewers’ minds, the spot is meant to be a playful recreation of what many may be dealing with on vacations home.
“It really is one of the times that we get together with family members that we may or may not agree with, and we have conversations we may or may not want to have,” said Caiozzo. “And travel is obviously a very heated one…We wanted to spur the conversation that people would probably be having and bring that to life. We did not intend to make fun of anybody and hopefully it doesn't come across that way.”
“Boyfriend” will begin airing on broadcast television and digital today.