A garden gnome
that stars in a series of Travelocity
advertisements. He claims to have been 'pilfered
from the garden,' and taken around the world, much like the garden gnome in Amélie
. This delightful little fellow has been taken to quite a few locations in his multiple commercial run, including Quebec
, the Caribbean, Mexico
, and a winter getaway
The gnome sports a kicking floppy red hat, blue jacket, and the mandatory unruly white beard, with his actual stature being around two feet. His most notable attribute, perhaps, is his friendly English accent - given to him because of the tradition of gnome-nappings in Britain that inspired the commercials.
The series of ads was preceded by a fictional search for the gnome by his owner, Bill. A teaser aired on television during the 2004 Rose Bowl on January 1st, and was accompanied by a chain of 'Missing Gnome' flyers in cinema and classified ads. Travelocity also set up a website at www.whereismygnome.com, which has since been taken down. The tagline in each commercial is, "Book with Travelocity: Don't forget your hat." The advertising scheme's budget totalled around $80 million, the most Travelocity has spent on marketing to date.
The preview mock-news report went like this:
WTR5: It's Always News to Us - Tracking the Gnome
News Reporter: (narrating) A missing gnome - who would do such a thing? When one of these little fellows disappeared this quiet town was robbed. Have you ever seen anything like this in your neighborhood before?
Local Resident: Never never never. Never.
News Reporter: Never never?
Local Resident: Never.
News Reporter: Meanwhile, there were telling clues. Local Law Enforcement had this to share.
Police Officer: Oh, we have scoured... (voice overpowered by the sound of a leafblower)
News Reporter: And then, a break in the case.
Bill: I..I received a letter from the people who took him... He's on some sort of ski trip. Booked through... Travel..o..city?
News Reporter: Travelocity?
Bill: (confused tone) ... I've never been skiing.
News Reporter: And there you have it. A bald spot in the grass, and a website used by some gnome-nappers to take a little gnome... A roaming. I'm Jenny Fieldman, reporting live, from Durham.
Some favorite quotes include:
(While lounging in a hot tub) "Oh, look, the bathtub's all whooshy. One's in danger of getting bubbles up one's whoopsadaisy."
(Sitting behind a wheel of cheese) "I'm something of a cheese connoisseur. I do enjoy a stinky cheese. A pungent, ghastly, stinky piece of cheese!"
Of course, anything sounds brilliant when said in such a remarkable British accent - but I digress.
The Roaming Gnome is a role model to members of The Garden Gnome Liberation Front everywhere - perhaps his journeys will even bring him to the European Gnome Sanctuary in Barga, Italy.