The nostalgic practice of sharing old school photos on social media with the hashtag #tbt–short for Throwback Thursday–has become an Internet phenomenon with over 228 million snapshots shared to date. So, too, has the hilarious trend of recreating family pictures from the past, usually to awkward, sometimes adorable, but mostly awkward effect. Expedia has brought these two memes together with Thrown Back Thursdays, a campaign that physically takes people back to their treasured moments of yesteryear.
Each Thursday from now until September the travel website is selecting one Instagram photo tagged with @Expedia and #ThrowMeBack and giving them in a travel voucher to either return to where that photo was taken or pick a new destination to create new summer memories.
The purpose of the campaign was to promote the nostalgia of summer travel, and since Throwback Thursday is the most nostalgic trend out there, getting in on the trend made sense for Expedia, according to Dave Horton, creative director at 180LA, the agency behind the campaign.
To publicize the contest, the first winner’s journey has been turned into a film. Entitled “Back to Ocean Beach” it follows a family’s return to their favorite beach in San Diego from Washington State. The photo that’s recreated involves a grown woman reprising her role as a hat-wearing baby sitting on the beach with her father, brother, and the star of the photo: shirtless, football-holding, former-model Uncle John. Still looking reasonably fit in mid-age, John willingly doffs his shirt and poses with his family in a modern-day version of that bygone memory, despite having no idea what #tbt means.
The campaign is a lovely way to stoke fond memories of family travel and fits with Expedia’s personal story-focused marketing. However, one word of caution: If we’ve learned anything from photo recreations floating around the web, it’s wise to select your classic pic carefully, folks. Especially if plans to restage that photo are in the cards. A diapered beach baby is totally adorable as a wee ’un. As an adult? Not so much.