Hostelworld is selling you more than just a roof over your head while you’re discovering yourself on a series of mud paths in Mexico. It’s tantalising you with the very concept of freedom. When Michael from Warrington – part of a group of actual backpackers-turned-adland actors – whips off his boxers in its new ad, he’s not just getting his knob out for a laugh; he’s doing it because there’s not a line manager within 1,000 square miles who can stop him.
As he runs up those steps, he’s no longer a trudging wage slave; he’s Mike – last of the international playboys. He doesn’t need to involve the HR department or go through multiple levels of hierarchy before doing this; he can just hurl himself off the cliff like a pink torpedo into the backpacker soup below. Future Islands play triumphantly – Hostelworld has enabled his priceless holiday moment.
What it doesn’t show you, though, is what would likely happen next. Sadly, Mike and the girl he’s just met are carted off by the police and subjected to hours of interrogation. “Why did you get naked on the site of a sacred monument?” they ask. His muffled answers about “a sense of liberation you just don’t get in Cheshire” don’t seem to be working.
Meanwhile, back home, Mike’s hairy bum and pigeon chest mean the tabloids don’t care. There’s no fund set up to pay his fines and no paparazzi awaiting his return. He’s left cold and alone, wishing he’d just gone to Malia with the lads like normal. What’s worse is nobody even cares that he found inner peace. And the Facebook picture only got four likes. Thanks a lot, Hostelworld. Thanks a lot.