Best Western Unveils New Campaign

A fortysomething woman who resembles actress Mariska Hargitay drives the TV spots in a new campaign for Best Western from Gotham in New York.

In one spot, the woman briskly leads the camera through the interiors of a Best Western—from a room and the lobby to a meeting space and an area for breakfast. Along the way, she introduces a promotional offer (“stay three separate times and earn a free night”) and a new three-tiered classification system (Best Western, Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier).

The spot ends with the line, “Best Western. The world’s biggest hotel family.”

All told, Gotham, a unit of Interpublic Group, produced six spots for the campaign, which breaks Sunday (Feb. 6) and runs into November. The effort also includes five Web videos, 10 online ads and six print ads. Campaign spending was not disclosed but Best Western typically spends about $40 million annually in measured media, according to sources.

The family theme figured more prominently in the Web videos, which profile independent owners of Best Western hotels in North America. Each video is almost three minutes long and features an owner talking about the business, his family and why he loves his work.

Through the videos and the woman in the TV spots, Best Western aims to personalize and contemporize its brand, according to Dorothy Dowling, svp of marketing. Past marketing efforts were more functional, with an emphasis on promotions and the size of Best Western’s footprint.

In choosing the spokeperson, “we wanted somebody that was highly likeable and really represented the trust that we have in our brand,” Dowling said. “We wanted someone…who would embody that notion of being very contemporary.”

The Web videos not only seek to personalize the brand but also generate esprit de corps among owners, Dowling said.

Gotham CEO Peter McGuinness added that the videos help bring a large hotel group down to earth.

The hotels are “owned by independent owners, so they’re like little small businesses in local communities, which I think is very much on trend right now versus these big efficient box providers where everything is identical and standardized,” McGuinness said.

The different levels of Best Western compete with the likes of Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn, La Quinta, Courtyard by Marriott and Hyatt Place, among others.