Bodett Will Not Habla Español

Tom Bodett may be synonymous with Motel 6, but the longtime spokesman is not narrating the client’s first Spanish-language advertising.

The chain has hired Grupo Gallegos in Los Angeles, an affiliate of The Richards Group in Dallas, as its first Hispanic agency. The shop is launching a radio campaign next week that targets Hispanic leisure travelers in the Los Angeles market.

The agency was awarded Motel 6’s Hispanic creative and media duties after being introduced to the client by Richards, which has handled the company’s general-market account for the last 16 years.

“They have great knowledge and understanding of the product, and it seemed quite natural for us to use Grupo Gallegos,” said Carol Kirby, executive group vice president of sales and marketing for Accor Lodging North America in Dallas, Motel 6’s parent company.

Following a credentials presentation, Grupo Gallegos was awarded the account, which has billings of less than$1 million. The client spent $17 million on general advertising last year, per CMR.

Kirby said the “overwhelming” Southern California Latino population led Motel 6, which operates more than 100 properties in the region and first opened in Santa Barbara, Calif., to devote marketing dollars to reach that demographic. Motel 6 also created a Spanish-language 1-800 number, which Kirby said would aid in measuring campaign success.

As with the mass-market ads, Hispanic work will employ humor, said Grupo Gallegos principal John Gallegos, but no spokesperson.