HomeAway taps GSD&M for brand strategy

Online vacation rental company HomeAway has named GSD&M its agency of record for brand strategy, creative and media responsibility, said Matt Cohen, the company’s senior director of global brand marketing.

HomeAway selected GSD&M after a formal RFP that initially included 10 agencies but was narrowed down to Arnold Worldwide, Muhtayzik Hoffer and GSD&M, said Cohen. He did not reveal the names of the other seven agencies.

GSD&M will help HomeAway create a brand platform across all media vehicles, employing direct marketing activities such as email and direct mail, said Cohen. HomeAway had its first meeting with GSD&M as AOR on Oct. 25 and Cohen said the brand hopes to launch its first campaign in collaboration with the agency by the start of 2012.

HomeAway had worked with Optimedia International U.S. since 2009.

“Optimedia has been a great partner,” said Cohen. “The decision [to move our business] was a result of wanting to get all of our media and strategy under one roof.”

The brand also worked with advertising agency Vendor on a contract basis to develop an ad that ran during last year’s Super Bowl. Several reports surfaced that the Vendor-created Super Bowl ad attracted criticism and HomeAway decided to put its account up for review as a result of the campaign.

Cohen denied this claim, saying he considered the Super Bowl ad to be “a very successful campaign.” Despite the ad’s success, Cohen said HomeAway would not be investing in a Super Bowl ad this year.

“We decided not to launch a Super Bowl ad so that we could focus our resources on a long-term approach instead of a big-bang approach,” he said.

Cohen would not reveal HomeAway’s annual advertising budget.

The brand does not work with any agencies other than GSD&M.

Representatives for Arnold Worldwide, Muhtayzik Hoffer and Optimedia could not immediately be reached.

Vendor declined to comment on this story.

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