Davis Media Group raised some eyebrows last March when it defeated Gray, Kirk/VanSant and Moses Anshell to land Best Western's$25 million advertising account.
DMG, a small media-buying company in Baltimore, lacked a full-fledged creative department, critics sniped.
In the pitch, agency president Laurie Davis turned her experience into a winning strategy.
"Media was the last thing any client wanted to think about," she said. "Now, with a recession looming, they understand media money is well spent."
This month DMG, under recently appointed executive creative director Michael Dilberto, launches its first marketing effort, a national broadcast and cable campaign that will run through the summer. Travel and trade print work will follow.
Three beautifully executed spots, shot on location in Paris, Hawaii, Los Vegas and at the Grand Canyon, position the client as the "The world's largest hotel chain."
"We were given that strategy to execute against," said Dilberto. "The embedded message is that no matter where you travel, there's a Best Western hotel."
In the signature spot, images of weary travelers resting on large pillows are superimposed over travel destinations. One visual depicts a woman pillowed against the Eiffel Tower. A voiceover intones, "Just about anywhere you go, you'll find a Best Western."
A second spot, utilizing quick cuts of children from around the world, highlights the chain's "Kids Stay Free" promotion.
The third spot, a comic piece centered around a family arguing about favorite travel destinations, breaks later this summer.
Each ad ends with an image of a globe settling onto a pillow—Best Western's new visual icon.
Credits go to art director Dilberto, copywriter Andy Ellis and producer Judy Wittenberg. Tim Bieber of Mr. Big Film in Chicago directed the shoot.