Experiential Branding | Event
Flatiron District | NYC, USA | 2019

Client: Airbnb Experiences
Master Thesis Project
Meet the neighbors you didn’t know you have; memorize their names, get to know their passions, overhear their conversations. Explore the unseen NYC, hidden behind closed doors or existing right in front of your eyes.

Find New Yorkers—just like you.
belong here. Even just for 90 seconds.

Locals Gen Y and Gen X
Travelers to NYC
Research, Content & Copy, Concept Design, 3d Visualisations, Artwork, Photography, Prototyping, Formative Evaluation

Project Status
Case study

How can Airbnb associate its brand with neighborhood reinforcement, rather than neighborhood erosion?

Meet the Neighbors

Project Goals
  • Promote and advertise Airbnb Experiences.
  • Associate Airbnb with neighborhood reinforcement.
  • Create an analog-based platform in addition to digital, where locals can connect in person.
  • Introduce the unseen aspects of the neighborhood life through the perspective of each Neighbor.

  • Deliver content in a free-exploration and personalized way
  • Engage participants in a fun way without interrupting them, in a highly stimulating urban environment.
  • Offer multi-layered experiences with flexible engagement duration
  • Design an urban experience that is uniform and seamless.

This experiential marketing campaign is a neighborhood walkthrough that encourages New Yorkers to engage with their surroundings, speculate, and empathize with different characters that they encounter every day.
Belong here aims to subtly break the stereotype of impersonal Flatiron District and help New Yorkers playfully practice the art of shifting their perspective, by adopting a non-judgmental, less biased behavior.
Experiential Stations

Wayfinding | Graphic Expression 

The locations feature spots both above ground and underground in the Flatiron District, Midtown Manhattan. The Belong here campaign takes over corners along 6th Ave. and the subway station at 23rd St. and 6th Ave., where the F and M trains meet the Path. This area rests at the borders of Flatiron District, in direct contact with Chelsea to the west and Koreatown to the north. It is chosen as the most appropriate location to launch the campaign as it is an extension of Midtown Manhattan, the largest central business district in the world.
Even though Midtown Manhattan hosts nearly a million people every workday, it is an actual home to less than 80,000 residents. Is it still a neighborhood, when there are 10 times the number of visitors as actual residents?

If a neighborhood is an area where people spend moments and interact with one another on a regular basis, then the area of both residential and professional addresses can be defined as a neighborhood.
Marketing Approach
The Belong here campaign aims to bring Airbnb’s digital service to the physical world. However, the way for Airbnb to measure the success of the experience is by monitoring the number of people downloading the Airbnb App from specific locations and the use of the #belonghere tab. Time is also a metric for the experience; by documenting how much time people engaged with specific locations and activities
The pilot Belong here/ Flatiron District is an indicator that records peoples’ preferences and informs how the experience will adjust in future locations. The experience relies also on social media engagement, by providing opportunities worth sharing in social media platforms and keeps track of the #belonghere impressions and times being used in digital conversations.
Visual Communication The Look and Feel of the Airbnb Experiences Campaign celebrates the spontaneous everyday moments of human connection in a playful way.

Organic shapes, versions of basic geometry are associated with specific color and content, and also form the signature confetti wayfinding. Photography in scale creates drama and intrigue, playing with the idea of the observer–observed, audience–actor. The silhouette cutouts focus on the characters’ body language and active mood. The layout allows for multiple interpretations of the graphics, as seen from different distances. Questions are used to guide people’s thinking.

The typography used is Airbnb Cereal–a unique font designed by Airbnb–combined with the #belonghere handwritten fonts, that bring the Neighbors’ words to life.

Technical Drawings

Benefits for Airbnb
  • Refined experience in future locations
  • Social media impressions
  • Positive engagement with local communities
  • Strengthened image of authentic brand by underlining its mission
  • Brand association with neighborhood reinforcement, rather than erosion
  • Brand loyalty growth
  • Positive interactions with potential users, when they most need it
  • Development of top–of–mind awareness

  • App downloads
  • Social media engagement
  • In app: #belonghere tab usage
  • IRL: Time spent in Flatiron experiences
  • Airbnb Experiences demand
The Belong here campaign creates an atlas that maps individuals rather than boundaries and numbers. This worldwide map crosses the borders of nations and stereotypes to document people’s interests and passions, turning the globe into a neighborhood.

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