Airbnb has a new ad campaign that is meant to encourage 'the kindness of man' -- but people are finding it really creepy

Airbnb launched a new global ad campaign on Tuesday that is well-intentioned enough: “Is Mankind?” aims to explore the kindness of man.

The idea is that Airbnb is built on the kindness of the Airbnb community — people are opening up their homes to strangers, after all. Airbnb wants to make it the company’s corporate mission to explore the “kindness of man,” it says in a press release.

The campaign, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, launches with a film (above) of a baby. Babies are innocent and innately kind, Airbnb says. The marketing push  also includes billboards “in provocative locations that may either highlight the kindness of man or call it into question,” and some digital and social media ads.

The social media element of the campaign appears to have immediately weirded people out. Earlier on Tuesday, Airbnb tweeted out this string of messages:

And here were some of the responses:




It may well be that this type of the reaction was Airbnb’s intention all along. The press release states: “There are examples all over the world and in the media that seemingly reflect the unkindness of man and Airbnb is questioning if that is the reality with a provocative campaign that includes spots aligned to the issue, as well as digital and OOH [out of home] elements.”

Airbnb has also published a blog post explaining its thinking behind the “Is Mankind?” campaign.

Later on this summer Airbnb plans to roll out additional elements to the campaign, including a survey that will look into “the role of media in man’s kindness or unkindness.” 

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