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On The Road

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It's raining, he's sleepy and Kalamazoo is 200 miles away.

This guy has tried scanning the radio for an upbeat song, checking his coffee cup for any remaining drops and sticking his head out his car window in a futile effort to revive himself. And, after all this, Kalamazoo is still 199 1/2 miles away, a road sign informs him.

What's this poor trav eler to do? "Get a room," advises the copy in this TV spot for Microtel Inns & Suites, part of a new campaign for the budget hotel chain from Fareed and Co. in Norfolk, Va.

In another ad, an auto mechanic mumbles and laughs to himself while the vacationing family whose smoking car he's fixing looks on. When the mother asks him what he thinks, he replies, "I think you're going to need to get a room."

"The idea was that [the client] understands the problems people face while traveling," said Jeff Carleton, a creative director at the shop.

Print ads use the same tagline. "Two layovers," reads the copy in one. "One screaming baby." Running alongside it is a shot of a guy out cold in an airplane seat, a T-shirt serving as a makeshift pillow.

The TV spots break this month on CNN and CNN Airport Network; print ads debut in the March issue of Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine.

Eric ConnorJULIEPOWELL