Choice Hotels Checks Into Arnold

Arnold Worldwide has won the $35-40 million account of Choice Hotels International.

The McLean, Va., unit of Boston-based Arnold defeated New York shops Avrett Free Ginsberg, Bozell Kamstra and Deutsch in a review that began last October, when Wayne Wielgus, CHI senior vice president of marketing, arrived from Best Western International.

Baltimore incumbent Gray, Kirk/VanSant, which held the account for 19 years, did not defend.

Laura Bajkowski of Bajkowski & Partners, New York, who oversaw the review, spoke for the Silver Spring, Md.-based client.

“We saw four very good agencies,” she said. “It took some consideration … Arnold displayed great thinking and positioning.”

Heavy network broadcast, print in general interest and travel magazines, and promotional campaigns are scheduled to break in May.

“We came up with a creative idea early on that we thoroughly executed,” said Ken Umansky, president of the McLean operation. “We talked to people in the U.S., Toronto, the United Kingdom and France. This was a domestic assignment, but Choice wanted the idea to work all over the world.”

Umansky credited Arnold Worldwide’s promotional group, Arnold Integrated Solutions in Boston, and its diversity marketing team, The Ad & itive in New York, with contributing to the win.

“We look at this as an Arnold Worldwide win,” he said. “We are one entity with many portals.”

Choice Hotels International counts Comfort, Quality and Econo Lodge among its franchises.