“Heimweh”, homesickness, is much more than just a nostalgic longing for going back to your home or birthplace: German romanticism has enriched this word with lots of cultural meaning, especially in regard to how you define a sense to belonging to a place, and what your roots are, and identity.
So, it can be challenging for the business of airlines and travel to developing this as the core idea of a branded content project.
Reasons I like it - 1 - THE TOPIC
This is the first reason for which I like Lufthansa´s #inspiredby Heimweh content marketing campaign: the most travel industry players - including airlines - focus their marketing storytelling much more on discovering new worlds, exploring the distance, or the nowadays on the abused theme of adventure seeking.
Lufthansa takes an unexpected route: it starts from one of the reasons for which you can take a long- or mid-haul flight and dives deeper into the topics of sense of belonging, identity building and cultural roots in a world where identity has become complex and sometimes neglected.
As of Lufthansa:
With the #inspiredby HEIMWEH campaign, Lufthansa aims to showcase personal definitions of home and the feeling of belonging of individuals who are part of a fast-changing world. The intended result is to recognize the potential of travel to form identity while changing direction: not to travel away from a place but towards it.
Reasons I like it - 2 - THE NARRATIVE AND THE TREATMENT
The protagonists of these short documentaries are not afraid to show sentiments and remind the bad feelings of being stranger - all of them emigrated when still kids -: in four or five minutes video, we relive the kind of sentimental journey that so much is part of the (German) romanticism, adjusted and updated to the twenty-first century. Emotional, but never too much.
The choice of protagonists, of course, helps a lot: special people, whose lives are interesting, however not that kind of “heroes “ (sport, entertainment, music) that you would not probably meet in front of your doorsteps.
In the first installment, we meet two Japanese brothers that live and work in Denmark as designers. We follow them flying back to a remote region of Japan, at the feet of the Vulcan that populated the stories that their father told them for entertaining and before sleeping.
How much their roots have to do with tales and myths, and magic is well represented with a mix of live action and animations: waterfalls, woods, anime characters…. there´s some evident reference to Miyazaki, but all done well.
In this movie, we do really feel how sweet can the “Heimweh” feeling be.
In the second instalment director, Christine Yuan and photographer Meredith Jenks have created a film that follows New York-based jewellery designer Arpana Rayamajhi to her former home in Nepal.
The film, shot over the course of a week in high definition, sees the designer visit her homeland, sharing her story of how she came to leave and deal with the topics of belonging, Heimweh and longing for her childhood home and her cultural roots in Nepal.
We see Arpana contemplate the vast, epic landscape of the Himalayas and Mount Everest, as well as her journey through remote towns such as Pokhara.
Arriving back at her hometown of Kathmandu, the designer seeks to re-establish her personal and creative identity through the heritage of strong Nepali women.
In the third instalment, "A Home Unknown” the actress Emilia Schüle travels back to her Russian birthplace Blagoweschtschensk, for the first time in 23 years.
We follow Emilia on a path to rediscover the Russian culture, rituals, land and people. In this movie, the search of identity is the key theme.
Reasons I like it - 3 - CINEMATIC QUALITY
An additional good note goes to way landscapes are portrayed: the production quality is high, all shooting techniques are there (slo-mo, time lapse…) but the director never indulged into a technique of a photographic treatment just to show how good video maker the are….. and believe me, I watch way too many videos that remind too much of a school essay and display of skills.
Reasons I like it - 4 - MORE THAN A CAMPAIGN
It´s a series made for lasting longer, to become an ongoing brand building initiative, and has huge potential for further engagement.
The franchise format does fit perfectly with the youtube first strategy: these installments can go very long in the tail, and become evergreen. You can surround the videos with additional product-related content you need to launch and promote.
What´s more, from each of these episodes you can develop additional narratives crafted for social: about destinations, of course, and more about how each of us live our own “Heimweh” feeling and engage people in conversations about roots, identity, things we miss and move you to go back to your home.
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