Book Masterclass

Award-winning native: Tales of transformative travel and a TikTok takeover

We're highlighting the winners of the Native Advertising AWARDS 2022. This post features The Best Native Advertising Program B2C.

  • Campaign: The Regeneration of Travel
  • Publisher/Agency: WP Creative Group at The Washington Post, USA
  • Brand: Marriott

As the global pandemic started to ebb, Marriott Bonvoy wanted to inspire people to return to travel. But it didn’t just want people to travel again, it wanted people to travel better. It wanted to inspire leisure travellers to leap back into travel with purpose, while aligning its brand with new and improved travel values. 

Washington Post Creative Group came up with the concept of inspiring readers to explore “regenerative travel”—the practice of planning trips that help improve a destination for future generations. Making travel an important part of reconnecting with and improving the world.

It arrived at three regenerative travel themes and selected storytellers, storylines and innovative storytelling technology for each, with the aim of immersing readers more thoroughly in each journey. 

The three interactive content releases covered a retired widow who found reinvention in the rebuilt Rust Belt city of Buffalo, New York, a Navajo photographer reconnecting with her roots in New Mexico and a plus-size adventurer diving to revive Florida’s coral reefs.

Marriott Bonvoy properties and staff were featured in pivotal moments of each story to align the brand with new and improved travel values and reveal the range of leisure travel environments and hotel brands offered by Marriott Bonvoy.


The releases were published on Washington Post URLs in October, November and December successively. They were distributed on:

  • The Washington Post homepage 
  • The Washington Post URLs 
  • TikTok 
  • By the Way sections, newsletters and Instagram feed 
  • The Washington Post Creative Group’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds
  • The Washington Post press releases 
  • Marriott Bonvoy social media accounts 
  • Talent social media accounts

A month-long “TikTok Takeover” was launched, with an explainer video that introduced users to the concept of regenerative travel. 

This was followed by a post on each successive Sunday, where each of the storytellers shared their personal stories using the prompt “Tell me about a time when travel changed you,” incorporating TikTok’s popular #tellmeaboutatime trend.

@washingtonpost #ad How has travel changed you? Share your story with @marriottbonvoy #TravelMakesUs #TikTokTravel #tellmeaboutatime ♬ original sound - We are a newspaper.


"The Regeneration of Travel” vastly overperformed in every category of Marriott Bonvoy’s KPIs.

  • Time spent with the content for two of the three releases was more than double the high end of the benchmark, and 58% above the benchmark for the overall programme. 
  • Pageviews for the programme blasted past the benchmarks by 49%. 
  • Social referrals ran into the tens of thousands and outperformed expectations by 107%. 
  • The TikTok Takeover garnered 2.7 million views in total.

Added to those statistics were the many social media interactions from readers that demonstrated deep emotional engagement with the programme, showing that the campaign had well and truly accomplished its mission to inspire.


The campaign emphasised the importance of cultivating close relationships with talent. 

It also ​​showed that branded TikTok campaigns are a nascent area of sponsored content that can be leveraged for good results. Success comes from the platform's own TikTok team (users love explainers and new information), as well as popular TikTok trends and hashtags. To feel native to the platform, however, videos shouldn’t feel overproduced. 

Currently, TikTok campaigns are best used in partnership with clients who are willing to experiment and view a TikTok activation as such. A TikTok extension makes the most sense for a campaign that already includes video elements in order to help with cost and production efficiencies.

New call-to-action

Be a Native Advertising Hero - Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Join +10,000 peers and become part of the growing native advertising community.

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think