McCann NY Asks ‘Stay or Go?’ for Choice Hotels

By Erik Oster 

McCann New York launched a new campaign for Choice Hotels with a series of broadcast spots built around The Clash’s classic “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” following the agency’s winning of the account last September.

The ads don’t simply use the song, but build lines around its verses. “My school reunion, I don’t know,” says a man at the beginning of the 60-second spot, which gets the rhyme “Who wants to play in Idaho?” from a band member booking gigs. “Stay or Go” continues with the pattern, matching the cadence of the song with the lines while telling the stories of multiple parties facing a decision of whether or not to make a trip, ending with each of them turning to the camera and asking “Should I stay or should I go?” before ultimately deciding on the latter. The idea is that they all should choose “go” since Choice Hotels has “the right room, rewards and saving up to 20 percent when you book direct.” While the approach gets a bit heavy-handed at times (such as when each party mouths the song’s chorus to the camera) and the flow doesn’t work quite as well in the 30-second version, it’s also memorable and can be pretty fun — for whatever reason the transition from “We’ve got to find some more of these” to “They just replaced my uncle’s knees” works particularly well. The approach is also very on-brand and works well with the “You always have a choice tagline.” We’re just not so sure how Joe Strummer would feel about this one.


The new campaign, which also includes digital, mobile, social media, PR and radio efforts, is part of a company-wide brand relaunch which also includes a new website and refreshed brand identity. This new identity, emphasizing personal connections in the technology age, is reflected in an online anthem ad entitled “Introducing the new Choice Hotels” (featured below).

“The refreshed brand positioning is a true reflection building on Choice Hotels’ 75 years,” Robert McDowell, senior vice president of marketing and distribution at Choice Hotels International, told LBBOnline. “Our goal is to bring people together and welcome every guest wherever their journey takes them. We want to stand out and show people that we understand what truly matters to them.”


Creative Agency: McCann New York
Strategy Director: Julien Delatte
Integrated Producer: (Exec) Greg Lotus
Group Creative Director: Thomas Sullivan
Executive Creative Director: Larry Platt
Creative Director: Dov Zmood
Chief Creative Officer: Sean Bryan, Thomas Murphy
Account Management: Neil Frauenglass

Production Company: Moxie Pictures
Production Designer: John Reinhart
Producer: Laura Heflin
Executive Producer: Robert Fernandez
DOP: Eric Schmidt
Director: Frank Todaro

Music and Sound
Sound Engineer: Joe O’Connell @ Blast Audio

Executive Producer: Cheryl Panek
Editor: Chris Franklin
Edit Company: Big Sky Editorial

Post Production/VFX
Motion Graphics: Brand New School