Soothing Monsters’ Road Rage

It’s a dark and stormy night. Frankenstein and his hissing bride are behaving monstrously toward each other on a long car drive. Around midnight, they pull into a Comfort Inn. The next morning they are human.

That’s the plot in Gray, Kirk/Van-Sant’s new TV spot for Silver Spring, Md.-based Choice Hotel International’s Comfort Inns.

Two monsters squabbling is not your basic hotel marketing ploy. It took courage on the part of Dan Shoen, Comfort Inns’ brand manager, to sign off on the spot. “Dan understood the concept,” said Jeff Millman, creative director at the Baltimore agency. “It fit the emotional benefit of the brand.”

The ad will air on ESPN, CNN, MSNBC and other cable outlets through December. The total media buy amounts to $4.4 million.

The project began as a collaboration among Millman, copywriter Carl Broscious and art director Stacy Wentland. “You start out in the morning bright-eyed,” said Millman. “After driving for eight hours, you’re a monster, freaking out.”

The commercial was shot in Toronto last month by New York-based directors Nick Spooner and Andy French.