Trump Hotel to Schadler Kramer: You’re Hired!

LOS ANGELES Creating call-to-action ads for a product everyone wants but few can afford was Schadler Kramer Group’s challenge when it was asked last month to prepare a print, online and direct-marketing campaign for Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York.

With its background in leisure and lifestyle brand marketing, independent SKG in Las Vegas has created work for upmarket hotels including the Bortaga in Atlantic City, N.J., Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, Calif., and Vegas’ Mirage. The shop’s creative team “has a good track record, a good sense of the luxury hotel category,” said Jim Gentleman, SKG director of account planning and new business development.

Originally contacted by the hotel’s public relations firm, SKG acquired the account a week after presenting its creative proposal in late November.

Gentlemen explained that the Trump International’s previous “advertising presentation was not really living up” to guests’ real-life experiences; it was unclear whether those ads were created by an agency or in-house.

SKG’s somewhat intimidating task, he said, is to remind potential guests that the hotel, which opened in 1997 and recently underwent a $10 million room renovation, has “cachet with the Trump name and has received a lot of accolades, industry and luxury-traveler recognition for its five-star service philosophy.”

That “five-star” service includes standard amenities such as personalized stationery, luxury bath items, discreet entrances and exits, fresh flowers and a personal valet for every guest. At the junction of Central Park and Columbus Circle, the 167-room property also offers nutritional counseling, massages and spa treatments such as Trump’s signature “liquid gold” body wrap.

With $750-2,000 per night room rates, the hotel pays particular attention to maintaining its residential feel and guests’ privacy. “It has really found a niche,” Gentleman said.

For each of the past three years, Trump International Hotels & Tower spent more than $500,000 on advertising, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR; newspaper has been the dominant medium. Gentleman said that the current SKG media budget is “in the high six-figure range.”

Still in development, the campaign is expected to launch with full-page, four-color ads in February 2005 issues of select travel, gourmet and lifestyle magazines and trade publications. SKG is also responsible for media buying and planning, said an agency representative.

SKG, a 5-year-old, 105-employee agency with an estimated $77 million in annual billings, has won several high-profile accounts since the beginning of December, the rep said, including Las Vegas’ soon-to-open Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Desert Passage shopping corridor and Mars-owned Ethel M Chocolates.