The first time I took notice of actor/musician Tim Williams was in the original Trivago spot, which began airing in 2013. It was not the “look” (I’ll get to that later) which struck a chord but rather his casual, easy-going delivery, pitching a service I had never heard of before. What the hell is Trivago and what does the name stand for anyway, I thought?? The spot ran repetitively on several networks, like a propaganda seeping into the collective psyche of the general public. Every time I would turn the T.V. on, there he was….strutting, swiping, and pitching in an undetectable accent, his quirky charm oozing telepathically from his pores.
Photo credit: Trivago, iSpot.TV
Couldn’t put my finger on it at the time but I remember thinking: there’s something different about him…not your typical pitchman perfectly packaged with every hair in place, but instead a rugged, disheveled, ordinary guy, who seemed to represent Everyman looking to book a hotel online. His good looks were downplayed to the point where tremendous backlash ensued over his appearance: some viewers hating it outright and others relishing the sexy vibe bubbling under the surface. It is safe to say nobody was left indifferent.
Didn’t take too long before Trivago realized it had a winner in Williams. The publicity became a story in itself, including the moniker Trivago Guy, now a household name. Why does he not wear a belt? Why is his hair long? Why the scruffy look? Social media imploded. Think-pieces, blogs, and posts on many platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, either bashing Williams in less-than-flattering terms, or lauding him, went viral. Nobody could have predicted that the Trivago Guy would generate so much buzz, least of all the Man himself!
Photo credit: T. Dobrovolny
Trivago’s intentions with that first spot, were not as strategic or as carefully crafted as one would assume. Williams was under contract with a German soap opera at the time, which required that his hair be kept at a certain length, and clean-shaven was out of the question, as filming was a timing issue. As a result, stylists built THE look around those conditions to present a scruffy (or rugged, depending on the eye of the beholder) and beltless Williams due to a wardrobe malfunction centred around belt loops. It always puzzled me that the beltless thing became so controversial, generating endless trash talk. I mean, who cares about the f****** belt?! Seems like tons of people did, however… Who knew?!
I, for one, have always HATED commercials, mostly because of their “cheesiness”, and also to a lesser extent, because I can’t be bothered – it’s not why I watch TV in the first place, which is seldom to begin with. If an ad doesn’t grab me within the first 5 seconds, on to the next station I go but….Tim Williams managed to change this perception of mine – he intrigued me. I, it turns out, was not the only one to feel this way, as was apparent by the large female following he has attracted.
Trivago brilliantly succeeded to build on the controversy by arranging a make-over contest. Participants were asked to submit photos of their suggestions for Trivago Guy’s new look! The entire marketing campaign became larger-than-life resulting in the filming of over 2 dozen ads featuring the Trivago Guy whose appearance evolved gradually, almost chameleon-like and whose character development was akin to a series on Netflix, viewers waiting with baited breath to see what would happen next, then (happily?) surprised with the outcome. Clearly, Williams has made his mark, every spot substantially different than the other. From Trivago Guy sharing the screen with “Lucky” the Dog to emoting a nonchalant attitude alongside an emu, from funny to somewhat serious, Trivago’s creativity pushed the boundaries, eventually delivering what the public wanted, and seemingly converting many of the haters to fandom.
Photo credit: Trivago, iSpot.TV
It appears Tim Williams has morphed into an iconic adman – his handsome features and personality perfectly intertwined to “deliver the goods” many thought he was not suited for. His Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/timwilliamsofficial/ ,attests to the friendly, accessible manner in which he connects with his admirers. He keeps it real and is every inch the nice guy he puts himself out there to be. There is no fakeness and no arrogance, which is a refreshing surprise in the celebrity-obsessed world we live in. His popularity is largely due to the public connection he so fervently nurtures. In fact, through social media, we, his “friends”, have discovered a lot more about his career, his Texan roots, his passions for acting and music, and his strong sense of family values which has kept him firmly grounded. As he is an American currently living in Berlin, it is ironic that he had to move to Germany to advance his career many moons ago only to find success in America now because of his relocation. Destiny was on his side. The fact that he immersed himself in the German culture and learn the language rather quickly for the sake of his craft is a testament to his determination.
The way I see it, the Trivago Guy persona does not define Tim Williams. He defines IT. His star power has taken on new meaning because he did not fit the typical pitchman mold but he still made it his own. His acting career is varied as we discover roles he has played in the past which have not made him a superstar by Hollywood standards yet his talent shone through. Undoubtedly, he is in a happy place right now and my personal wish is that he rides that wave for a long time, no matter where it leads him and what he does, be it singing or acting or ??
I identify to some degree with his destiny. In search of a creative outlet, I followed the path here, to blogging for the first time and I couldn’t think of a better subject to write about. Thank-you for indirectly inspiring me to compose my first piece, Tim! Writing brings me joy and a sense of peace, the words flowing out of me seamlessly and effortlessly. Maybe the subject has something to do with it!
Oh… and the title? It also was inspired by the Man himself, who once commented on the climate to me, one fine summer day. At that moment, I thought, hmmm… that would make a great title for an article! The play on words appealed to me. Destiny…Passion….Boom, here we are!
It is indeed Hot in Berlin, in more ways than one.