Holiday Inn “Polski”

Do you look up to the legendary figures of your business? Maybe. Are you tired of hearing about how much better they were in their day than you are in yours? Definitely. That’s the underlying psychology that makes this spot in Holiday Inn’s “Masters of Business Accommodations” series (via Fallon in Minneapolis) especially effective. As with other commercials in the campaign, this ad features the actor who played Bookman, the hard-bitten library cop, on an especially memorable episode of Seinfeld. Giving a similarly abrasive edge here to the role of a professor who openly scorns his students (a bunch of younger business travelers), he opens today’s class with the challenge: “So you consider yourselves business travelers, huh?” And he launches into a disquisition about “the legend, Joe Polski” — the business traveler who, upon regaining consciousness after a heart attack, “sold the paramedics 12 dozen steak knives.” Any young executive who’s had to listen to one crusty old guy extolling another crusty old guy will be able to identify with the students as they’re subjected to the professorial harangue. And such viewers will be pleased when the students pipe up to ask whether Polski ever earned 2,000 bonus points for staying two nights at a Holiday Inn or got big-league baseball tickets as a reward for eight nights. He didn’t! Viewers who’d rather create their own legends than bow before someone else will come away from this spot feeling that Holiday Inn is attuned to their non-old-school way of navigating the business world. And my hunch is that they’ll feel more in sync with this execution than with those in which the professor is the font of wisdom about Holiday Inn and his students are fonts of stupidity about everything. –Mark Dolliver