Orbitz has unveiled a new advertising campaign that centers LGBTQ+ travelers and invites everyone to travel on their own terms.
Directed by LGBTQ+ photographer Cass Bird – known for her work with YSL, Dior, Calvin Klein, and celebs including The Obamas, Jay-Z, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid – the campaign Travel As You Are features a lesbian couple, a Black queer male couple, and a nonbinary single traveler.
“I wanted to work on this spot, and was excited to have been given the opportunity to create a visual world that mirrors what I am invested in making a reality,” Bird says. “A world where we can take up space, are free to love and be welcomed everywhere, a place where we don’t have to disguise and hide our true selves because of who we choose to love. I aspire to create work where myself and others who identify as LGBTQ+ are being seen.”
The ad campaign stars a diverse cast of young LGBTQ+ travelers, including singer Josiah Wise, who, as Serpentwithfeet, continues his musical exploration of Black love and queer identity on the recently released album Deacon.
For the Orbitz campaign, Serpentwithfeet recorded a rendition of the Lesley Gore classic “You Don’t Own Me” which will serve as the theme song for Travel As You Are.
“Having Serpent redo that song is so magical because it's such a transcendent voice,” Bird says. “Having a man sing to that storyline felt really irreverent, and also so transcendent to how culturally men are allowed to express themselves.”
The campaign officially premieres on Orbitz’s new LGBTQ+ channel on April 6th.
20 years after launching its first LGBTQ+ print ad encouraging travelers to “see the world on your terms” Orbitz has recently doubled down on their commitment to the queer community. In honor of 2020’s LGBTQ+ History Month, the travel company teamed up with queer influencers, including Lance Bass and Todrick Hall to highlight queer-friendly destinations via Orbitz.com/Pride.
“Despite these unsettling times, Orbitz remains committed to finding new ways to celebrate this community, during LGBTQ History month and throughout the year,” Orbitz marketing director, Carey Malloy said at the time.
Then, in December, Orbitz collaborated with Pose stars Jeremy Pope and Indya Moore on a campaign, #TheJourney, through which people thanked a friend or family member who helped them on their journey to self-love and acceptance. For every message sent, Orbitz donated $20 to the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association for a total of $50,000.
“The journey is just beginning for our brand as we advocate for a more equal and inclusive travel experience for LGBTQ+ travelers around the world,” Malloy shared in December. “We’re thrilled to be working with Jeremy and Indya, who are influential and important advocates in this community, to support this work with IGLTA.”
With Orbitz’s latest LGBTQ+-directed ad campaign, Bird says, “What I love about this is that we’ll be expressing this freedom in a way that hasn’t really been done before around travel. Being citizens who experience the same freedom and safety as our heteronormative counterparts. The connection between a subject’s independence and energy has been explored through media to varying degrees, but without much context. This concept provides a beautiful perspective on this relationship.”
Bird acknowledges that the world of travel isn’t always welcoming to LGBTQ+ people, saying she’s previously “limited my travel destinations to places that I feel are inviting to my community and to me as a lesbian.”
But the director hopes that Travel As You Are can help make destinations more open to queer travelers. “I really hope that this piece of work allows people to see…[LGBTQ+ people] loving themselves, being comfortable in who they are, feeling a part of this world, and having the permission to take up space.”
With this new campaign, Orbitz continues to claim more space in the industry for LGBTQ+ travelers.