Choice Hotels Picks Burnett, Doner

BOSTON Choice Hotels today said it hired Doner and Leo Burnett as its lead agencies following a review.

Doner, an independent in Southfield, Mich., was tapped for promotions, while Publicis Groupe’s Burnett in Chicago secured creative advertising chores.

After spending nearly $60 million in domestic measured media in each of the past two years, Choice spent $25 million on ads through the first half of 2009, per Nielsen.

Burnett and Doner have been slumping of late, and the new business represents a needed windfall for both agencies.

Havas’ Arnold had been Choice’s lead ad shop for 10 years, handling the assignment out of its McLean, Va., office. Its past work includes a campaign featuring Johnny Cash’s song “I’ve Been Everywhere” and another using the theme, “Thanks for traveling.”

Joanne Davis Consulting in New York assisted the Silver Spring, Md.-based chain with the review process.
Chris Malone, Choice CMO, said: “The current state of the economy has made it more important than ever for us to further evolve our advertising and promotion strategies to keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment. We’re confident that both agencies will help us create promotions and ideas designed to drive growth and deliver more reservations directly to our hotels.”

Media chores were not part of the review and remain handled by Havas’ MPG in Boston.

Choice has nearly a dozen hotel brands in its portfolio, including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Econo Lodge, Clarion, Cambria Suites and Rodeway Inn.