La Quinta Plays Only on Fox

Publicis Puts ‘Sports Breaks’ on One Cable Network
DALLAS–La Quinta Inns of San Antonio today launches an image campaign from Publicis that targets business travelers. The spots will air exclusively on regional Fox Sports channels across the Sunbelt.
Billings were undisclosed, but La Quinta, part of the Needham Heights, Mass.-based Meditrust Cos., has spent about $10 million in broadcast and print executions for each of the past two years. Print and radio work will follow later in the year.
Publicis co-chairman Seth Werner said that figure could be slightly lower for 1999, given the absence of current print and radio assignments and the narrow buy. The work will consist of six different, 30-second spots featuring a faux sports-news studio that brings highlights of the midpriced hotel chain’s various features and amenities.
The Dallas agency dubbed the series “La Quinta Sports Break.” Each of the spots has an understated newscaster (shot on video) delivering highlights about the hotel, such as its friendly staff and free breakfast feature.
“On the surface, these spots seem broad and slapstick, but they really are underplayed,” said Werner. “I wouldn’t be surprised if on the first couple of viewings, some people wouldn’t mistake it for a sports news show.”
One of the spots is a parody of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, in which a mascot called “Coco the Palm” douses a hotel manager with water from a sideline cooler.
According to La Quinta and Werner, the reason for focusing on a single cable TV network was research showing 72 percent of frequent business travelers are men–“a group that skews high for sports viewership,” according to the company. The spots will air during local baseball telecasts and Fox Sports news shows.
Werner said the markets covered by Fox Sports multiregional channels match up with La Quinta Inns’ nearly 300 properties in 28 states. The campaign will cover 18 states in the Southwest, Southeast, Northwest and Midwest.