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La Quinta Plays Only on Fox

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La Quinta Inns of San Antonio today launches an image campaign from Publicis that targets business travelers. The spots will air exclusively on regional Fox Sports channels across the Sunbelt.
Billings were undisclosed. La Quinta Inns, part of the Needham Heights, Mass.-based Meditrust Cos., has spent about $10 million on broadcast and print advertising for each of the past two years.
Publicis co-chairman Seth Werner said that figure could be slightly lower for 1999, given the absence of current print and radio assignments and the narrow buy. Six 30-second spots feature a faux sports-news studio that brings highlights of the midpriced hotel chain's various features and amenities.
The Dallas agency dubbed the series "La Quinta Sports Break." Each of the spots has an understated newscaster (shot on video) delivering highlights about the hotel, such as its friendly staff and free breakfast.
"On the surface, these spots seem broad and slapstick, but they really are underplayed," said Werner. "I wouldn't be surprised if on the first couple of viewings, some people wouldn't mistake it for a sports-news show."
One spot parodies a ribbon-cutting ceremony, in which a "Coco the Palm" mascot douses a hotel manager with water from a sideline cooler.
According to La Quinta and Werner, the reason for focusing on a single cable TV network was research showing 72 percent of frequent business travelers are men--"a group that skews high for sports viewership." The spots will air during local baseball telecasts and Fox Sports news shows.
Werner said the markets covered by Fox Sports' multiregional channels match up with La Quinta Inns' nearly 300 properties in 28 states. The campaign will cover 18 states in the Southwest, Southeast, Northwest and Midwest.