Airbnb leads the way with piggyback marketing

Airbnb: piggyback marketing

Airbnb, community-driven property rentals website, is doing so much good work in the experiential sphere at the moment that it’s getting hard to keep track.

An activation that did catch my eye recently, however, was the brand’s collaboration with basketball team Chicago Bulls. 7,000 fans competed to win a VIP overnight stay in the United Center - all they had to do was submit an answer to the question: 'Why would you like to spend a night in the home of the Chicago Bulls?'

As part of the package, the winner would be able to:

  • Walk out on to centre court for pictures before the game
  • Enjoy complimentary food and beverages for the evening
  • Take home some sweet Airbnb and Bulls memorabilia
  • Be honoured with in-game appreciation of Airbnb Chicago Hosts
  • Get a chance to connect and share stories with other local hosts

So on April 11th, lifelong Chicago Bulls fan Virgina Labellarte and her granddaughter Danielle Divito became the first people to spend the night at the United Center; in her entry, Divito explained that she would like to bring along her grandmother, who had recently celebrated her 80th birthday and is a die-hard fan of former Bulls player Scottie Pippen.

Virginia and Danielle were indeed treated to an evening that included V.I.P. tickets to a Bulls game, courtside seats during pregame team warm-ups, dinner, a movie screening on the United Center's Jumbotron, free Bulls merchandise, a tour of the locker room, and a meet and greet with Pippen himself. The overnight stay took place in the suite, which had been turned into a plush bedroom for the evening.


The activation was part of a larger Airbnb campaign that endeavours to create larger-than-life hospitality experiences at iconic locations around the world. The concept has already reached a cable car, a KLM Aeroplane, Formula One, Syndey Cricket Ground, and IKEA showrooms. This is a very simple but extremely effective format that evidently can be rolled out across so many different platforms and events. Airbnb have struck a goldmine here, and I look forward to seeing what else the brand has up its sleeve. 

Joss Davidge is Director of the Unexpected at BEcause, the award-winning live brand experience agency, dedicated to enhancing Brand Love. He also runs free Masterclasses on multi-channel live brand experience.

Read more from him in our Clubhouse.


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