Travelocity’s watersports ad: Good humor or poor taste?

Travelocity recently ran an ad in The Advocate (an LGBT magazine) that included the following text:

Travel Wish #18:
Try a new water sport.

Most of the advertisements in The Advocate are from big-name companies like Cadillac, Prudential, Avis, HSBC, and Subaru. The ads are similar to what you’d see in other print media, often with a bit more of an environmental vibe like the new Cadillac Hybrid or the Subaru “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.”. The models in ad pictures are often paired as same-sex couples, which makes sense considering the target audience. Some advertisers include colors or, as in the case with Avis, a rainbow-themed button at the bottom of the ad with the text “We try harder.”

The Travelocity ad includes a picture of three guys and the Travelocity gnome playing “Chicken” in a resort pool. As much as I enjoy humor in advertisements, I was curious to see a big name like Travelocity make a joke that could be interpreted poorly depending upon the audience and setting. I could definitely imagine people interpreting their words as a suggestion that most gay men like to indulge in urolagnia, something which I believe is not the case. Given the flavor of other ads in The Advocate, Travelocity’s text seemed a bit more racy than most.

Here’s the ad:

travelocity water sports ad

And here’s the full text of the ad:

Travel Wish #18:
Try a new water sport.

Looking for a vacation with a gay and
lesbian friendly seal of approval? Well,
lucky you. Exclusively at,
you can book gay and lesbian friendly hotels.
We’ve done the legwork, so you can focus
on having a fabulous trip. And once you
book, you’re covered all trip long by the
Travelocity Guarantee. So take the plunge
and make your travel wish come true.

Over 40,000 wishes fulfilled every day.
Start your wish list at

You’ll never roam alone.

(c)2008 LP. CST #2056372-50 See for details.

Perhaps Travelocity was trying to shake things up a bit and see if they could stand out a bit from the other advertisers. Heck — they managed to get me to blog about the ad, so they’ve certainly gotten more distribution from their ad copy! Only time will tell if their choice of words will pay off.

2 thoughts on “Travelocity’s watersports ad: Good humor or poor taste?

  1. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even read the words. The first that that caught my mind was the gnome. What water sport are they talking about? Pass the garden gnome? Why is it there and why is that one guy putting it on the others head?

  2. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that’s a Travelocity gnome. I had no idea that Travelocity had a…mascot, let alone a gnome. It’s still stupid.

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