DDB Wins More of Hampton Inn

The Hilton Hotels Corp. has consolidated additional assignments for its Hampton Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites brands at DDB.

The Dallas agency, which has handled the midpriced chain’s branding for eight years, won promotional and online responsibilities last week after a review against promotional in-cumbent Roth/Graham in Minneapolis and other undisclosed contenders.

“DDB Dallas brings us great synergy, given they lead our brand-building efforts,” said Judy Christa-Cathey, vice president of marketing for the hotelier.

The budget for promotions and online advertising is undetermined. According to DDB managing director Janet Bustin, however, the victory doubles the shop’s Hampton business. The client spent $25 million on advertising in 2001, per CMR.

“The win is a great example ofa totally integrated effort,” saidBustin. “We won it with an integrated approach.”

DDB brought a handful of promotional ideas to the pitch. One effort, which began last week on Hampton Inn’s Web site, is “See the USA Your Way.” The phrase plays off the brand’s existing ad tag, “We’re with you all the way.”

The online promotion revolves around a sweepstakes in which the grand prize is a deluxe motor coach with driver. The winner and seven of his or her friends can go wherever they want for two weeks.

Research, Bustin said, showed that Hampton guests tend to be travelers who do not want a hotel to hinder the experience of exploring.

“As we pitched this we thought of all the different types of people we wanted to reach,” said DDB account director Kyle Purdy. “We looked at the online and direct applications, on the properties, the magazines and the collateral.”

But the key to the idea, said Purdy, was the number of possible tie-ins to different market segments. Promotional partners include the American Automobile Association, AARP, American Express’ small-business members and travel agents’ organizations. For example, AAA members might get a certificate for free gasoline. A free CD will be available to consumers on the Web site. Other promotions are seasonal and address leisure and business customers.

“The main theme is the same and the components build toward the grand promotion,” said Bustin. “But each of the promotions builds on the core positioning.”

Memphis, Tenn.-based Hampton Inn competes with Fairfield Inn, La Quinta and Holiday Inns.