Ingalls Bows First Ads For Radisson Hotels

BOSTON-Radisson Hotels’ first campaign from Ingalls Advertising draws heavily on the Boston shop’s reality-based marketing philosophy and the candid style of renowned photojournalist Elliott Erwitt.
A series of print ads breaking nationally next month use the tagline, “The difference is genuine.” The effort features actual employees of the hotel chain and plays up their hospitality and friendliness.
In one execution, concierge Roberto Vidas, who works at a Radisson in Orlando, Fla., is assisting a pair of young guests. “By the end of their vacation, these kids will think ‘concierge’ is French for ‘uncle,'” the copy begins.
The reality approach was used to differentiate Radisson’s ads from those of its competitors, said Ingalls creative director Steve Bautista. Research showed that Radisson’s customers were impressed by the friendliness of its employees, so Ingalls created a campaign highlighting hospitality, he said.
“It is a major departure from our past ad campaigns,” said Maureen O’Hanlon, executive vice president of marketing for the Minneapolis-based client. Previous advertising has focused on more traditional hotel attributes such as comfort and pricing and used the tagline, “This must be the place.”
The biggest challenge in creating the ads was figuring out how to illustrate employees’ genuine hospitality in a “controlled . . . and staged” media like advertising, O’Hanlon said.
To achieve the desired effect, Ingalls hired Erwitt, a noted photojournalist and commercial photographer, to shoot the black-and-white images that illustrate the ads. Erwitt, who photographed John F. Kennedy’s funeral and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, shot the ads at Radissons in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando and Alexandria, Va.
The ads will break in September in Business Week, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and target upscale business travelers, who make up about 70 percent of Radisson’s clientele, Bautista said.
Scott Noble was the copywriter; Melissa Johnson was the art director. Total 1997 media spending will exceed $5 million.