Sometimes, you come across campaigns that are so hard to believe because they are to true to their company’s core. A campaign by an Amsterdam hostel, The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, seems more like a joke than a true marketing presence. There’s been many fictitious campaigns that reveal in the end that the location was actually an entry point to show off the trailer. Imagine the surprise when finding that these Hans Brinker elements are not sets or jokes, but marketing elements from management who proudly offer that their accommodations are a fine alternative to sleeping on a park bench.
The way I found it was through a YouTube campaign that offered to pay anyone who posted a video that mentions Hans Brinker Budget Hotel AND got more than a thousand views would receive 10 Euros. The video itself seemed too lo-fi to be true.
But when you check out the YouTube page, it is legitimate. Granted, there’s not a bunch of entries and it seems like only one video other than the challenge video has received more than 1000 views. The YT page does show their classic Brinker commercials – one of which provided my first opportunity to experience claymation vomit. On its own, the competition is somewhat lame and you really can’t tell if it’s for real or not.
The thing is, the management seems to be OK with that. Its consistent with the rest of their marketing. On the home page of their site, the proudly begin with the copy;
The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has been proudly disappointing travellers for forty years. Boasting levels of comfort comparable to a minimum-security prison, the Hans Brinker also offers some plumbing and an intermittently open canteen serving a wide range of dishes based on runny eggs.
There’s no photos to speak of, but they have created quite a bit of content on their site to show off how bad they are:
- Participate in Staff Training with a lame interactive video feature that allows you to ask questions of the young receptionist.
- Check out their lame examples of Green initiatives – with copy and video espousing their philosophy, tour and features.
- View their not-lame Apologies section.
- They also provide a listing, in order, of accommodation alternatives with the only type below them being an unmarked grave.
All of these pieces make for a fun waste or diversion from mundane lives. But it is still a mystery whether this place is for real or not! Kudos to the management and their agency who seemingly have a bunch of time to waste. In all seriousness, the campaign seem perfectly suited for their target consumer. It is refreshing to see that they have truly embraced what they are and don’t try to sell themselves as something more. The big travel brands could possibly learn a thing or two from them.