Extended StayZiccardi, Metropolitan Hotel check in creativecampaigns

believes in total immersion. Fontana, evp and director of creative services at Ziccardi & Partners, has been charged with implementing most of the details for the $17 million renovation of Loews New York Hotel. The New York shop oversees everything from renaming the edifice to designing lobby signage to scoring music. Billings for the current project were undisclosed.

The agency had a three-part assignment: First, it came up with a moniker that capitalized on the hotel’s midtown location and cosmopolitan feel: The Metropolitan. Next, the shop created a theme for the transition period, since the hotel remains open: Metro-morphosis.

The Metro-morphosis campaign, which kicked off in July, consists of direct mail, trade ads, scaffolding and signage to explain the relaunch to customers. Ziccardi worked with colors used in the hotel to create strong graphics, such as a hammer and a saw, announcing the renovation.

A second motive was to assuage customers’ qualms about the construction. “We’re not down playing the renovation, which a lot of places do,” says Fontana. “We’re creating a buzz around [it].”

Print ads showcasing the updated look will break during the Christmas season in trade magazines such as Travel Agent and Travel Weekly and consumer publications like The New York Times, Wall St. Journal and Chicago Tribune.

Being involved from the beginning, in April, gave Ziccardi creatives a free hand. “Nothing was decided,” says Tracy Brennan, vp, creative director. “Things just kept coming out of it. The hotel is going upscale in image, what she says the architects call “Crate and Barrel-ish.”

In fact, the agency named the meeting rooms and hotel programs and designed the hotel’s Web site. “We’ve handled two relaunches for Loews and a similar [all-encompassing] project for Ellen Tracy.

“This is different only because there is a name change, so it takes it to the next level of brand awareness,” Fontana says. The third tier of the campaign will be launching the property once the renovation is completed, currently scheduled for mid-January.

“It’s not just what you see and experience, but also what you taste in the restaurant. We want to make sure we’re completing the experience,” adds Fontana.

Michael Wyman, director of marketing for Loews, raves about the relationship Ziccardi fosters with the hotelier. Since winning the client in 1998, the shop has become increasingly involved with Lowes’ 16 properties, as well as handling corporate branding. It worked on campaigns for the launch of the Miami Beach Loews Hotel in 1998 and last year’s renovation of the Regency in New York.

“They’ve been able to turn on their creative juices. What they’ve produced is amazing,” Wyman says. “I feel like they’re part of my department, there’s such synergy there. It is almost seamless.”

Fontana stresses that the collaborative elements of the campaign are not unique to Loews, but something the agency offers every client. “The partnership aspect is about getting completely involved in a [client’s] business. Not just being an ad agency, but a marketing partner.”