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Another Type of Collaboration

Le temps des collab'

A couple of years ago, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened. Now, please meet the Louvre Airbnb. A brilliant concept. The vacation rental website is offering to spend one single night in the world-famous museum: the contest winners will have drinks with the Mona Lisa, enjoy dinner with the Venus de Milo and, finally, sleep under Pei’s Pyramid. It looks like an April Fools’ joke, but it’s more a Millennials’ fantasy. We imagine the winning couple’s expectable ecstasy and the number of pics they will surely share on social media.

The idea perfectly reflects what brands need to do to attract the public’s attention. Their offers are so similar they’re no longer enough. Even the stories brands tell us eventually converge. The only way to get away from this lack of differentiation is to call on the exceptional, the unexpected, the extreme offbeat. Even occasionally. And Airbnb just did that.

Collaborating with the Louvre means accessing the world of powerful and luxury brands that regularly use the museum rooms to organize their shows. A sign of supremacy. For the Louvre, the operation’s goal is to seduce young adults. The museum has already opened its doors to Beyoncé and Jay-Z in search of a grand decor for their music video. Then to JR, the consensual artist who makes spectacular images. The institution goes down one more step with Airbnb. Why not? In this time of collaborations, the more the collaborators seem different, the greater the element of surprise.

Note that, contrary to the classic marketing consensus, this operation doesn’t feed the brands’ equities. What matters is the image and the buzz only. Nothing about the Louvre and its impressive collections. Nothing on Airbnb’s service, price or style (more inspired by Ikea than the museum’s masterpieces…). Nothing but surprise and creativity. The marketing fuel of the moment.

So What ?

The quest for meaning that motivated brands trying to build partnerships now gives way to the quest for buzz. And the buzz gives the operation its meaning…

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