Fallon’s Mark Is Back on the Road for Holiday Inn

New TV spots from Fallon bring back the slacker character Mark as part of Holiday Inn’s $20 million golden anniversary campaign, which features a road-trip promotion and minivan giveaways.

Holiday Inn’s Great American Road Trip will link the company’s highway heritage with summer driving treks to American landmarks and weekend trips.

TV will be the main advertising engine for the effort, which kicks off April 1 with a double-points promo with Visa for the recently relaunched Priority Club Rewards, the loyalty program for all Six Continents Hotels.

Fallon’s new spots show Mark and his family touting the rewards to be gained by earning double points. Subsequent spots about Great American Road Trip prizes will show the family—Mark, his parents and his grandmother—in their new minivan, traveling to the Grand Canyon. Yet they can only stay a few moments because Grandma has to head for Las Vegas, and the rest of the family wants to avail themselves of Holiday Inn freebies along the way.

The creative is a spinoff of last summer’s ad supporting the Companion Flies Free promotion. In that spot, Mark took Grandma on a golfing trip.

“Typically, when a hotel is driving a promotion, you have your brand spot on, and there’s a call-to-action blurb at the end,” said Ravi Saligram, Six Continents’ brand president for the Americas. “Here is an integrated spot about the promo but using characters who personify the brand, which I think is more clever.”

Ad spending is expected to exceed last summer’s outlay, which was about $16 million from April through August, according to CMR.

The effort comes as Six Continents bucks the post-Sept. 11 slowdown trend in the industry. Instead of pulling back, the hotelier is earmarking $500 million to build at least 50 hotels over the next five years. Also on tap are 50 new Staybridge Suites extended-stay hotels.