Suburban Franchise Systems Taps Fricks/Firestone

Suburban Franchise Systems has retained Fricks/Firestone to relaunch its brand.

Billings are undisclosed.

The Atlanta client had been searching for an agency to handle a positioning assignment. SFS president and chief executive officer Kevin Lewis said he hired the Atlanta agency to handle all marketing responsibilities on a retainer basis. Compensation is also tied to the company’s expansion.

SFS was formed May 1 by a consortium of former franchisees of Suburban Lodges of America. That consolidation followed the merger of SLA with Intown Suites Management of Atlanta.

“This [franchisee-only] business model creates an extremely empathetic corporate culture,” said Lewis. Business-to-business advertising will promote that idea.

Growth plans call for the construction of an additional 88 properties in the next 18 months. The new company now owns 62 hotels, mostly in the Southeast. It will continue to operate under the Suburban banner.

“I was attracted by Fricks/Firestone’s philosophy of truth advertising. They concentrate on what we do well and marry that with what travelers ideally want,” said Lewis.

Initial print ads aimed at potential franchisees will run this summer in trade publications such as Hotel Motel Management, Hotel Business, Lodging and Hospitality. Direct mail is also part of the mix.

A new logo shows an elongated gable roof over the brand name. The design, said Lewis, resonated clean and residential in surveys.

“We want to accentuate that that’s what we deliver,” Lewis said.

The print ad uses stick figures and copy stating, “If a group of franchisees ran the world, would it be a better place? One thing’s for sure, it makes for a better Suburban ex-tended-stay hotel.”

Consumer advertising targeting males, 35-50, in construction, military and food-service occupations is expected to break this summer. The initial effort will include direct mail and print. Radio and outdoor elements are also in development.

Unlike Extended Stay America and Homewood Suites, which em-phasize price, consumer ads for SFS will rely on emotional perceptions of a clean and friendly extended-stay hotel with a residential feel.