Hill, Holliday Unveils First Work for Red Roof Inns

A dashboard bobblehead doll has evicted come dian Martin Mull from his role as spokesman for the Red Roof Inns motel chain.

The first campaign featuring Red, a business-suited character with flaming red locks of hair, breaks nationwide on April 1. The tag is, “Red knows the road.”

The campaign is the first work Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in San Francisco has created for Red Roof since gaining the $13 million business last September. The shop edged out TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., Cramer-Krasselt, Chi cago, and DeVito/Verdi, New York, to win the account.

Although the incumbent, The Richards Group in Dallas, did not participate in the creative review, the shop continues to handle media buying for the Dallas-based client.

Rob Bagot, evp and creative director at Hill, Holliday, said the agency used the Red character when it pitched the ac count last fall. The client was so smitten by the little briefcase-toting redhead that it decided to enlist the doll’s services full time, Bagot said.

With Red, the new ads aim to convey Red Roof’s empathy for the road traveler. Red is “the ultimate friend of the traveler,” Bagot said. “He’s been everywhere and seen everything because he lives on the dashboard of the car.”

The new spots highlight amenities available at the 330-plus Red Roof Inns nationwide. Locally, Red Roof operates about a dozen motels in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

In one ad touting free coffee, Red declines to drink from a motel guest’s cup. “None for me, bud, I’m jittery enough,” Red says as his spring-mounted head bobs up and down.

Spots are slated to run on cable and network stations. Radio will also run nationally, and print will appear in USA Today.

Red Roof Inns was acquired by Accor of Paris for $1.1 billion in 1999. Accor is the parent of Accor Economy Lodging, which operates Red Roof, Motel 6 and Studio 6.