Airbnb is a global travel community that offers travelers across the world a platform to interact with to create the experiences catered to them. With Airbnb, users can find homes to stay in, experiences to engage with and insights from locals to build the vacation of their dreams. It’s grown as a brand in recent years, coming into its own in a way. And one area you can see Airbnb’s presence clearly is in politics.
In response to the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of President Trump’s travel ban, the team at Airbnb joined together to take a stand. And this video is their response, promoted on their social media channels, website and on television sets.
This roughly 30-second video is titled, “Let’s Keep Traveling Forward” and the video’s message is just that — promoting travel for everyone, everywhere despite their race, religion, gender, age or place of birth.
The video is made up of a variety of nostalgic and old-school, black and white clips. And everything seems to be moving in reverse.
This is a statement on the archaic ban that the Supreme Court passed. It’s essentially saying that this is a step in the opposite direction — instead of moving our country forward and creating a more open, honest and inviting atmosphere, the country is taking a step back and closing us off from the world.
In the video, we are welcomed with this message:
Image a world without travel where everyone built walls and no one left home. There would be no immigrants, there would be no exploration, there would be no adventure — and definitely no United States Of America. To limit travel is to turn back progress. Let’s keep traveling forward.
This is a powerful statement and it certainly makes an impact.
The clever pairing of this bold and impactful message with the black and white reverse video and interesting stylistic elements makes for a video that is extremely compelling and politically aligned.
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This isn’t the first time Airbnb has gone political — the unveiling of its new logo design, created with belonging in mind, certainly states the same. But this is one of the first times the brand has promoted this stance on national television in such a poignant way.
And it works — this brand isn’t trying to tackle lofty political agendas outside of its industry. It’s a travel brand, after all, and making a comment on the limitation of travel is well within its right and fits right in with its identity as a whole.
Not many brands can pull off a politically charged video, but here it really works.
Not only does this video come from a political place, but it comes from an emotional one.
Bélo is what Airbnb calls its new logo — the fluid and flowing, coral A. But it is also a symbol of belonging. And Airbnb has been trying to promote this sense of belonging, acceptance, and openness across borders for a while now. This video is just another link in the chain, strengthening the brand’s stance on political, social and economic issues.
But first and foremost, it’s a brand that puts consumers first.
And to do that, it uses evocative video, bright imagery, and a clear message to engage with users on an emotional level.
Yes, the history behind this video is political. It’s in direct response to a Supreme Court ruling. But it is also one that is filled with sensitivity, feeling and a passion for equality.
You can see this in the video used throughout — the backward moving images show classic cars, the building of iconic monuments and innovations, legendary events in history and more. This all happened because we as a society were moving forward, learning and growing.
And what this video is saying is that by limiting travel you’re limiting progress. And if you limit progress, things like this won’t continue in the future.
If the United States had limited travel in the 20th century we wouldn’t live in the same technologically advanced world that exists today. It would be older, more archaic — and that’s because the country wouldn’t be letting in the same minds as before, and it wouldn’t be fostering, in general, that open, creative and inspiring spirit that has helped launch successful endeavors like the moon landing and the assembly line.
This video tugs at your heartstrings. It makes you think and it makes you feel. It’s a striking visual display and it’s one that knows how to leverage emotion to its advantage.
Aside from the thought-provoking and emotional elements of this design — there are a lot of design aspects that really make for a robust video that promotes the brand in an effective and exciting way.
The backbone of this video is rooted in emotion and politics — but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices style and branding. Quite the opposite actually.
Right from the start, the background of this video is made up of that same, iconic Airbnb pink. It’s bright and eye-catching, drawing you in and keeping you engaged as words dance across the screen.
And the way this message is written out is creative and unique as well. Each frame of the video gets its own word or phrase that’s written out in a bold, capitalized font. But inside these words, you can see a video playing out like its been cut out, and beneath there is a story being told.
There are clever cutouts throughout the video, using words and images like the outline of the United States to cover the images beneath — kind of like how the travel ban limits these immigrant stories from being told and shared
As more nostalgic video content plays across the screen, the wording takes on the Airbnb color palette — a light, pastel coloring that soothes and pacifies, but it still leaves you with a heavy weight in your chest that stays with you long after the video has aired.
This is a video that wants to send a deliberate message but knows it needs to stay true to its brand. And it does so with imagery, color choice and tone.
But it also uses a recognizable style in an enthusiastic way to add a playfulness that encourages more people to stop and read the words appearing on the screen.
This effervescent video design strikes an emotional chord and aligns the brand politically but it also continues to promote the brand’s evolving identity and dedication to its consumers in a way that is inspiring and altruistic.
As we’ve said, Airbnb has been moving in a liberal direction in the last few years, and you can see this in its logo redesign, increasingly more political videos and its straightforward and emotionally-appealing press releases. This is a brand that cares about travel. It cares about people. And it cares about doing the right thing.
With the introduction of the Bélo symbol, Airbnb decided in 2014 that they were going to be a brand with a face, a heart and a soul. They were going to shift gears, leaning away from the corporate in favor of the personal. They even redesigned the entire Airbnb website to match this. And it’s extremely compelling — Airbnb has effectively aligned itself as a company that cares.
Here is what they said in a statement about the release of Bélo:
Airbnb is returning us to a place where everyone can feel they belong. Like us, you may have started out thinking you were just renting out a room to help pay the bills. Or maybe you were just booking a bed for a night on an unexpected layover. However we first entered this community, we all know that getting in isn’t a transaction. It’s a connection that can last a lifetime. That’s because the rewards you get from Airbnb aren’t just financial—they’re personal—for hosts and guests alike. At a time when new technologies have made it easier to keep each other at a distance, you’re using them to bring people together. And you’re tapping into the universal human yearning to belong—the desire to feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for who you are, no matter where you might be. Belonging is the idea that defines Airbnb, but the way we’ve represented Airbnb to the world until now hasn’t fully captured this.
It’s a no-brainer then that the travel community would have something to say about a global travel ban — and they did so with the same intuitive, creative and passionate spirit that they infuse into their entire Airbnb experience.
The brand is moving in a transparent and altruistic direction, laying all of its cards out on the table and making its customer experiences, thoughts and opinions a priority. It’s a bold move, but one that has been successful for the popular travel site.
Airbnb is continuing its positive and open message started back in 2014 with this heartwarming and attention-grabbing, politically-charged video. In just 30 seconds, the brand captures the problem with the new travel ban and tries to enlighten others as to how it could negatively impact society.
And it does so in a creative and engaging way, incorporating black and white video, consistent branding and clever design elements to create a video that’s worth watching.
Going politically can be devastating for brands, but here it works because Airbnb had already laid down the foundation for this passionate and politically aware spirit. And this short, sweet and to-the-point video effortlessly captures that essences and offers it up to an audience that can do with it what they will.
This video helps to further align the brand as one with a heart — and that was their hope all along.
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