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The DNA Journey

Award: Wood Pencil

Wood Pencil / PR / Use of Digital & Social Media / 2017

Brief (PR):
momondo is a travel metasearch company that was founded on the belief that travel can create a better, more open world:
At momondo we have a vision of a world where our differences are a source of inspiration and development, not intolerance and prejudice. Our purpose is to give courage and encourage each one of us to stay curious and be open minded so we can all enjoy a better, more diversified world.

Yet, even though people travel more, intolerance and prejudice is increasing. A recent global study shows that 48% of people think we have become less tolerant towards other cultures.In order to activate the purpose, momondo needed to not only focus on physical traveling, but also people’s mental statestate of mind, because it is only when you truly experience something different that you start to see things differently.

Our task was to make produce communication that contributed to the purpose platform “Let’s open our world”. Three3 objectives were formulated:
1. Create a focus on tolerance and openness in the world
2. Start a universally relevant rather than party-political debate on the issue
3. Turn the debate into a popular movement for a better world

And one supporting business- and marketing objective:
4. Build momondo as a purposeful travel brand, to drive market penetration and -share

With conflicts and stigmatizing debates stemming from issues like Brexit, The European Refugee Crisis, tThe US presidential election and on-going conflicts across the Middle East and Africa, intolerance and prejudice is gaining ground. To be seen as a relevant contributor to the debate, stay true to the vision and work towards the campaign goals, we needed to address 4 core challenges:
1. Recreate the true value of traveling
2. Make the purpose theme personal and engaging
3. Create a framework that transcends the individual campaign
4. Make momondo “truly” global on a limited budget
Based on thisthat, we came up with a completely new way of travelling – one where you don’t get to choose your destination. Your DNA does. We called it The DNA Journey, and it was the first communication activation of momondo’s purpose platform.

- The DNA Journey. Posing the question “W would you dare to question who you really are?”, we carried out a social documentary project where 67 people where interviewed about their national identity, DNA tested and interviewed again when once they received their often surprising DNA-results.
There were no scripts, no lines - just a framework for the story to unfold.
The result was a 5,17 minute film – not the most obvious viral film format – and extensive additional content of individual people’s stories. Additionally, we staged ran a competition where 500 people could win DNA kits and ultimately a trip to all the countries they were fromin their genetic ancestry.
This documented that we have more in common than we think and that when we see something different, we start to see things differently in a surprising and new way.

Outcome/Results (PR):
It was a message the world was waiting to share.

1. Focus on tolerance and openness in the world - global attention:
• +585million total reach
• +320million video views
• +880 press clips
• +8,3billion media impressions

2. Starting a universally relevant conversation - engagement:
• +10.1million social engagements
• 96.5% organic sharing

3. Turning debate into a popular movement - community:
• Film over-represented in regions burdened by conflict; 15% of total views in Middle East
• 170.378 joined chance to have their own DNA-Journey (finally won by Manuel from Mexico)
• Content used by numerous schools, universities, corporations, social communities and talk shows (e.g Oprah)

4. Business: Market penetration and -share:
• Earned media value of USD 90.2million
• ROI 119 (value 90.2/budget 0.75)
• 8% increase in penetration
• 2p.p. increase in global market share

And it is still alive: Following the result of the US presidential election, the film added more than 40 million new organic views.

Link: The Value of Traveling. A global study conducted by momondo to document the state of the purpose project

Location/Platform (PR):
As is the case with many campaign films, we employed casting agencies to help us find participants. Two agencies sourced participants via their extras databases, their own networks and via online forums. In the process of selecting the participants, momondo was presented with their ethnicity and family history only.
The casting agencies filmed 67 people talking about themselves and where they come from for 10 minutes each. After this, they were asked to take a saliva DNA test. Based on these results, together with the participants’ personal stories, we selected 16 for the shoot in Copenhagen. The criteria we looked at were their ancestry, their perception of themselves and the world, and if there was a surprise element in their DNA results.
The participants of The DNA Journey appear in their own name and receive their own DNA results. Neither their occupation nor their educational background had any bearing upon their selection.
Participants came from all walks of life and all kinds of occupations. Examples of the participants’ occupations are: secretary, dog trainer, actor, account manager and model. We did not carry out specific research into what kind of profession the participants had – or have had – as they would be appearing as themselves.
The participants in the film were not cast to act, and what they say in the film are their own words and thoughts. They were interviewed about their personal relationship to their ancestry and nationality, and later shown the result of the DNA analysis that was made a few weeks earlier.
Before the reveal of the DNA results, the contestants were very excited about their results and we talked with them about the fact that they were welcome to express this in the film. The participants were not directed individually in how to react or what to say about their DNA results.
The campaign film was shot in a music venue, Vega, in Copenhagen from April 6th to April 8th 2016. While an intertitle in the film states, “Two weeks later”, all of the participants carried out their DNA test before the shoot. This is a modification we made for the sake of storytelling. Similarly, the spitting scenes were shot when the entire crew was together in Copenhagen for logistical reasons. During the shoot, participants were first interviewed about their views on their own nationality and other nations, and then presented with the results of their DNA test.
AncestryDNA carried out the tests. In the test you learn about your DNA based on 26 regions worldwide. AncestryDNA gives ethnicity estimates that map back to broad geographical regions, often including one or more countries.
AncestryDNA was able to provide each participant with a more detailed DNA map than the average taker of their DNA test, because the participant selection process had provided them with a greater understanding of each participant’s family history, surname and ancestral background.

  • The DNA Journey

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