Starwood Puts $100 Mil. in Play

Ogilvy & Mather Will Not Defend Media Buying, Creative Tasks
NEW YORK–Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is staging a review for all its ad assignments currently at Ogilvy & Mather, including the Sheraton chain and the client’s Preferred Guest loyalty program, plus media duties for all brands.
The review began just weeks after Ogilvy launched the first branding effort behind Preferred Guest and less than a year after the client consolidated its then-$80 million in global media buying at the agency [Adweek, July 6, 1998].
Ogilvy referred calls to the client, which said the agency had been invited to defend. Sources, however, said that Ogilvy would decline.
A client representative confirmed the contenders: Young & Rubicam, Wieden & Kennedy, DDB Needham, Weiss Stagliano Partners, Partners & Shevack/Wolf and Bates USA, all in New York. Briefings are set for next week and the shops will present strategy–and most likely creative concepts–in mid-June. “Best idea wins,” one source said. Starwood hopes to select an agency by July 1.
The review is being directed by Starwood chairman Barry Sternlicht. The White Plains, N.Y.-based firm is the world’s largest lodging company, with more than 680 properties in some 70 countries. Other brands include Westin, Caesars, W Hotels, Four Points Hotels and St. Regis.
A recent TV spot for Sheraton features postcard-like images and a soundtrack of cheerful violins. “It’s where you stay, but also go for complete freedom,” a voiceover says. “That place is Sheraton.” Print ads for Preferred Guest loyalty effort used the tag, “Be one.”
Starwood may not be the only restless client in this category. Marriott is apparently dissatisfied with lead agency McCann-Erickson in New York, sources said. The top account manager on the brand, Kevin Allen, recently shifted to the shop’s London office; Tim Carlisle, who recently joined McCann from M&C Saatchi, has replaced him.
McCann referred calls to the client. A client representative would say only there are no plans for a review.
Marriott spent around $35 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting. –with Hank Kim and Mike Beirne