DDB Effort Urges Travelers to ‘R.S.V.P. Westin’

Seeking to heighten awareness and a repositioning to coincide with its new ranking by Business Travel News as No. 1 in the upscale category, Westin Hotels & Resorts is launching a print campaign on Sept. 5.

The estimated $15 million effort, the first from DDB Worldwide in New York since winning the account in 1999, will run in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other publications, with a direct-mail and online rollout through the year’s end.

“Campaigns do wear out,” said Westin vp of marketing Sue Brush, referring to the TV and print effort that ran from 1996-99, from DDB in Chicago. That work positioned the client as “an innovative hotel with an attitude.” The new ads target travelers ages 24-55, as opposed to the prior 24-45 target age group, Brush said.

Eight new print ads, tagged, “R.S.V.P. Westin,” are copy driven and designed as an invitation, with each featuring a whimsical crest at the top. The ads are humorous like the prior ones (which featured, among other images, golfers and a couple embracing), but warmer in tone.

One reads, “Your presence is requested on our tee. From one to eighteen. A meal of doglegs, sand, wind and water will be served. B.Y.O. mulligans. R.S.V.P. Westin.” The “crest” is two fish and a golf ball. Another ad reads, “You’re invited to spend your first night as man and wife in appropriately appointed surroundings. A Heavenly Bed awaits your arrival. Along with soundproof walls. R.S.V.P. Westin.” Two kissing rabbits are the “crest.”

“Usually, you get a beautifully lit lobby or smiling hotel personnel,” said Tan Shen Guan, executive creative director at DDB, New York, describing typical advertising for the category. “[DDB’s] ads convey the idea of hotel guests as friends.”

Brush said no TV is planned because “we’re looking to be more targeted.”