Case Study: Marriott International & SanDisk Europe Get Their Kicks On Route 66

marriott sandisk influencer case study
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Influencer Marketing Case Study: Marriott International & SanDisk Europe Navigate Influencer Marketing

Brands looking to get their messages out into the world are increasingly turning to influencer marketing as a means to reach their target audiences. However, in an ever-crowding space, with consumers placing a premium on authenticity and transparency, well-planned, crafted, and executed campaigns are more vital than ever.

Hospitality company, Marriott International, and technology enterprise, SanDisk, are no strangers to influencer marketing. Each has worked with influencers over the years in an effort to realize their individual brand and marketing goals.

For Marriott, the hospitality space is filled with competitors that keep active and relevant social media accounts. Looking for fans to replicate the journeys of the social media sensations they follow, charming images and videos of hotel destinations are regular features on popular travel, lifestyle, and other influencer feeds.

SanDisk’s products may not have the visual allure of a sprawling sunset or five-star suite, but their storage solutions offer people in the visual arts the ability to transfer and store the compelling images they record and produce. Looking to engage with various media enthusiasts, SanDisk has used influencer marketing to promote their technology products to today’s digital creatives.

Travel And Photography Instagrammers Capture And Curate Dazzling Images For Their Followers

instagram photography search
Instagram has become a hub for some of today’s most intriguing imagery. Entering “photography” or “travel” into the platform’s discover tool produces an astounding 306 million and 327 million posts, respectively. Looking to tap into these massive areas of interest, brands have leveraged both travel and photography influencers on the platform to promote their goods and messages.

In some cases, the impact has been profound. Instagrammers have begun to shape the way social media followers travel, while a variety of influencers are popularizing “Instagrammable locations” — aesthetically pleasing places that complement the platform’s format and raise a post’s perceived value.

With industries witnessing Instagram and influencer marketing’s power in real-time, brands have started to increase digital marketing budgets, as well as integrate influencer marketing specialists into their company infrastructure.

Marriott International & SanDisk Europe Travel Route 66 With Photography Influencer, Brendan van Son


  • Marriott International looked to raise awareness of their hotel properties across the United States.
  • SanDisk Europe aimed to appeal to those seeking fast media storage solutions.
  • For both brands, engagement with their target demographics was key.


  • Channel – Instagram
  • Influencer – Brendan van Son

brendan van son instagram
Marriott and SanDisk each leveraged the talents of Canadian photography influencer, Brendan van Son (also known as BVS to his followers), for their independent campaigns. Appealing to 89,100 followers on Instagram, van Son documents his travels from around the globe, sharing breathtaking stills across his feed. From Greece, to the Faroe Islands, to Patagonia, to the country of Georgia, van Son impresses his audience with sprawling landscapes, notable monuments, and portraits of everyday life in scenic places.

Van Son produced four posts for Marriott along Route 66, utilizing the hashtags #marriottaamericas, #bvsroute66, and #Route66. In his content for the campaign, van Son documented picturesque natural phenomena, as well as iconic Americana, while plugging his stays at Marriott properties.

Using the hashtags #speeduptheflow, #bvsroute66, and #Route66, van Son promoted SanDisk’s Speed Up the Flow campaign around their line of SanDisk Extreme® Portable Solid State Drives (SSD). Like his posts for Marriott, van Son offers his audience captivating landscapes along the epochal Route 66 roadway.

Van Son’s captions for both campaigns range from casual, to enthusiastic, to poetic, with his Marriott descriptions speaking more to his experiences along the journey, and his SanDisk posts touching upon the usefulness of his storage equipment.

In posts for both campaigns, van Son engaged with his followers in the comment sections, replying with answers to questions and expressing gratitude for his audience’s support.


  • Sharp, wide shots
  • Personalized captions and @replies
  • Organic sponsor integration


Marriott International

  • Social Reach
    • Instagram Followers Targeted: 89,100
  • Engagement
    • Instagram Likes: 9,165
    • Instagram Comments: 103
    • Hashtag Usage (#marriottamericas): 339
    • Engagement Rate: 2.60%

SanDisk Europe

  • Social Reach
    • Instagram Followers Targeted: 89,100
  • Engagement
    • Instagram Likes: 8,401
    • Instagram Comments: 103
    • Hashtag Usage (#speeduptheflow): 471
    • Engagement Rate: 3.19%

Combined Total of Both Campaigns

  • Social Reach
    • Instagram Followers Targeted: 89,100
  • Engagement
    • Instagram Likes: 17,566
    • Instagram Comments: 220
    • Hashtag Usage (including #Route66): 1,270,121
    • Engagement Rate: 2.89%

Marriott International Roadtrips Through The U.S.

With 2,625 likes and 29 comments, van Son’s multi-layered image of a hazy hill, rocky valley, and bright yellow and green vegetation inside Joshua Tree National Park offered a closing note to his Route 66 trek and broke news about a new trip to Texas. Enthusiastic followers congratulated van Son and expressed excitement around his forthcoming images and travels.

With an engagement rate of 2.98%, van Son’s Joshua Tree post was the highest performer from his partnership with Marriott along Route 66.

SanDisk Europe Captures America’s Beauty

Tallying 3,118 likes and 71 comments, another Joshua Tree snapshot took top-post honors in van Son’s efforts for SanDisk’s Speed Up The Flow campaign. Capturing a striking Joshua Tree framed by red rock boulders against an unearthly night’s sky, van Son’s image exudes both a grounded and ethereal feel. With many followers complimenting the content, van Son replied six times within the image’s comment section.

Van Son’s nighttime Joshua Tree image created an engagement rate of 3.58%, making it the most prominent campaign post amid his Route 66 travels.


  • Van Son raised awareness around both Marriott and SanDisk’s individual brands during his Route 66 journey.
  • The images van Son posted for both campaigns matched the natural look and feel of his Instagram feed.
  • The content van Son created made organic connections to both Marriott and SanDisk’s marketing aims.
  • The sponsored posts were well-received by the target audience, who primarily engaged around the content and van Son’s travels.
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