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Vintage-Style Ads from Le Méridien Reference the Golden Age of Travel

We love these retro-cool ads that French artist Virginie Morgand created for Le Méridien. Inspired by children's books and vintage travel posters, the colorful series manages to be both nostalgic and fun.

Published on Jan 22, 2016

When French artist Virginie Morgand, whose work has been published by both The Sunday Times and Elle, received a request from Le Méridien for a different sort of ad campaign, she decided to look to the past. Inspired by brightly colored mid-century travel posters and children’s books, she created a retro, whimsical series to honor the brand’s 10th anniversary with Starwood. The resulting pictures, with their bold hues and playful imagery, aim to impart a sense of adventure and glamour without ever losing their sense of humor.

In particular, the wistful drawings call to mind the This is… series of books by the renowned Czech artist by Miroslav Sasek. Written over a 15-year period between the 1950s and 70s, the 18 books explored the globe one destination at a time. Starting with This is Paris and progressing through Munich, London, New York and other metropolises, Sasek aimed to distil the essence of these iconic places into a bold, visual language. In doing so, he transported children who might never be able to travel from Hong Kong to Rome. His rigorously architecturally accurate, lavishly detailed depictions are particularly poignant when one realizes that the author was sometimes remembering places he would never again see in person. Although the books fell into obscurity for decades, they were rediscovered and embraced in the early 2000s. Sasek’s series are now in print again, instilling wanderlust in young aspiring jet-setters.

Much like Sasek’s books, Morgand’s series for Le Méridien reduces each destination to its most recognizable elements. A Parisian character is shown with an Arc de Triomphe while a German one smiles out of a giant beer stein and a fairytale castle. It’s all part of an ambitious US$6 million rebranding campaign called “Destination Unlocked,” which aims to lure creative travelers hoping to connect with on a deeper level. In addition to these clever, vintage images, the brand has also commissioned a 24-hour soundtrack with the Parisian punk band Nouvelle Vague, launched engaging Instagram contests, and even created a video series entitled Eclair Diaries. Let’s hope all that innovative advertising inspires a whole new generation to explore the world.


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