Embassy Suites Goes Into Play

NEW YORK Hilton Hotels has launched a review of creative duties on its Embassy Suites brand, which Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day here has handled since 1998, sources said.

Major media spending on Embassy Suites totaled more than $15 million in the first nine months of 2007 and almost $20 million in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

TBWA\C\D, whose Tequila unit also works on the account, declined to comment and referred calls to the client, which said, through a representative, “It’s not appropriate to comment right now.” Sources expect the incumbent to defend.

Media duties, now at Omnicom’s OMD in New York, do not appear to be in play. Embassy Suites, which is based in Memphis, Tenn., operates 182 properties in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, according to EmbassySuites.com. The brand’s top marketing executive is John Lee, vice president of marketing. He has held that title since 2001; between 1998 and 2001, he was senior director of marketing.

Other Hilton brands include Hilton, whose creative duties are handled by WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in Irvine, Calif., and Doubletree, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, all of which are handled by Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB in San Francisco. (Spending on Hilton, Doubletree, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites totaled $36 million, $15 million, $20 million and $5 million, respectively, in the first nine months of last year, per TNS.)

Across all brands, the hotelier spent nearly $100 million in major measured media between January and September 2007 and more than $140 million in 2006.

Last year, The Blackstone Group acquired the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Hilton, which operates more than 2,900 hotels and resorts in 76 countries, for an estimated $26 billion.