Arnold Adds Fuel, Food to Mix

Arnold’s latest effort for Choice Hotels International is a $10 million “Gas, food, lodging” campaign that targets leisure travelers.

The campaign incorporates a special promotion that offers $5 in gas money and a McDonald’s Extra Value Meal to guests who stay two nights at any of 2400 properties operated by Choice Hotels.

“We’re selling the idea of embracing the positive rewards of travel instead of apologizing to people who are forced to travel,” said Bruce Gifford, creative director at the McLean, Va., shop. “It’s great fun to be out there.”

As with earlier Arnold advertising for Choice Hotels’ Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Clarion, Quality, Sleep Inn and MainStay brands, this work incorporates the tagline, “The power of being there. Go.”

Television, radio, print, outdoor and direct mail are the primary media components of the campaign. The summer TV push kicks off this week on CBS stations as well as cable outlets including AMC, CNN, HGTV and the Discovery and Weather Channels. Print ads will appear in 16 metropolitan newspapers in select feeder markets.

Thirty- and 15-second versions of an initial TV spot intercut standard travel images—laughing children splashing in swimming pools, happy families posing for photographs on docks, rivers, lakes, along roads—while a voiceover (“At Choice we want to make sure you have everything it takes to get out there this summer”) trumpets the fuel and food deal.

“We’ve got blue skies,” said Gifford. “And gas, food, lodging. We’re talking the language of the road to people who are savvy about what they want and don’t want.”

So folksy and familiar is the work that radio messages open with the “99 Bottles of Beer” (in Choice’s case, “root beer”) traveling song, then tie in the promotional benefits.

“We’re keeping with our marketing strategy,” said Wayne Wielgus, Choice’s senior vice president of marketing. “Summer fun contributes to the overall adventure of traveling.”

The promotional campaign comes at a time when the nation’s travel and hospitality in-dustries continue to underperform, Gifford said.

Production credits go to Arnold copywriter Eric Knaub and art directors Kai Fang and Joe Easton. Danny Ducovny directed the TV commercials, while Cuculoris in Los Angeles performed post-production work.