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The Frank Reardon Saga Continues in Kayak’s Latest Ad

Accidental Kayak spokesman Frank Reardon, ostensibly banned from using the service, returns in an interactive ad for competing company, “Frank’s Kayak.”

The Frank Reardon Saga Continues in Kayak’s Latest Ad
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What started as one of the most inside of inside jokes in advertising has since morphed into a full-on campaign for travel site Kayak.com. But where do you go after you’ve banned your real-life high school tormentor from using the service you’re advertising? Have him start a competing service in an interactive video, of course.

In case you missed our earlier coverage of the ongoing saga: a brief refresher course. Last year, Kayak debuted an ad featuring a high school bully whose abuse of the future inventor of the travel site doomed said bully to never experience the service himself. Eventually, it was revealed that this bully was based on Barton F. Graf 9000 founder Gerry Graf’s actual teenage nemesis, and subsequent commercials blended fact and fiction with the real grown-up version of Graf’s bully, Frank Reardon, pleading to be allowed to use the site. Now, a just debuted interactive ad reveals that Reardon has started a competing service called simply Frank’s Kayak.

The new ad situates the supposedly bitter rival on his couch beneath a giant map and a computer-printed banner in orange Impact-font that reads “Welcome to Frank’s Kayak.com.” In his delightfully awkward manner, Frank invites viewers to click on any of the travel destination link-boxes that pop up onscreen to plan out a trip. Wherever users click, Frank offers commentary on their choices and walks them through the steps, all the way to an offer. Unfortunately for Frank, it doesn’t seem like he has the whole pricing structure thing down yet. Perhaps he’ll get it worked out in the next ad.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.