Creative Campaigns #28 – Even Divas are believers…Mariah Carey stays in a hostel

Renowned diva Mariah Carey staying in a hostel?! Yeah, I thought that might get your attention…

…and so does Hostel World. It’s a hostel booking company with a difference. Hostel World want us to know that they break the mould and why everything we thought about hostels is wrong.

A playful jab at Mariah Carey’s reputation by Mariah Carey excellently and succinctly puts across the message of this hostel company.

Watch the video below…

This is big budget advertising at its best, because a hell of a lot of money must have been stumped up to get Mariah on board. The concept works, the advert is simple and it certainly makes an impact. The right impact because it challenges perceptions.


Do a lot of people turn their nose up at the suggestions of staying in a hostel? Yes, of course they do. The hostel stereotype historically has not been good. It’s reputation is the 18-25 gap year, party all night crowd who use it as an extension of freshers week before they join the real world of mortgages and careers.

If you’ve ever tried to challenge the misconceptions of a hostel with someone who’s not a fan of the idea you’ll understand. I’ve had some great experiences in hostels but, try explaining that to friends, family and acquaintances who balk at the thought. Suddenly they look at you quite differently because you’ve not chosen the latest trendy hotel or classic hip joint like Chateau Marmont. For those not LA savvy, it’s the swanky pants Hollywood hotel stars across the ages have stayed at when they are in town!

PR is about changing and challenging perception and this advert does it beautifully. In certain cultures across America, Europe and Australia it is well known that Mariah has a reputation for being a diva. Her rider probably requests a completely white space with dozens of matching white puppies, roses and only bowls of red M&M’s*.


The concept of a diva staying in somewhere like a hostel and actually being impressed is exactly the message Hostel World wants to convey to change it’s potential audience and stakeholders minds. It’s not just about direct sales, it’s about changing peoples mind to see a hostel as a viable option and to include them in the thought process when booking a trip or a holiday.

If there’s no chance that a hostel would even be considered a hostel company will never make a booking as they don’t even make it to the consideration stage. This advert plants the seed and helps to create the environment where people start to think about hostels when booking stays away.  Then, with one foot in the door, the company at least might have a chance to convert that interest into a booking.

The advert is brilliant, and I know I say this fairly frequently, I wish I’d thought of it and had the budget to execute such a fantastic idea. It definitely gives me lots of ideas and inspiration for future PR campaigns – I hope it does for you too!



*In case Mariah or one of her team ever read this. I have no idea what Mariah has on her rider, this is of course an exaggeration which I am using to make my point. It’s a stereotype that has been associated with Mariah for years and I have no idea if it is true. But, that concept is used by the advert to convey the message. So if you were to sue me for these comments then technically you’d also have to go after the people who made this advert and who you made the deal with initially. So, to surmise, please don’t sue me Mariah, it’s an exaggeration to make a point.

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