Westin Hotels Tries a Touch of Zen

LOS ANGELES San Franciscans awoke Monday morning to a 30 by 90-foot Zen rock garden in Union Square, along with an attending gardener, according to Ryan Anderson, senior marketing manager, Westin Hotels and Resorts, the client that sponsored the marketing event.

The night before 25 tons of dirt, large boulders and special lighting were secreted into the park for the three-day outdoor exhibit featuring Zen master Ivan Shvarts, said Anderson, a former Ogilvy & Mather creative who now works at Westin in White Plains, N.Y.

Westin’s shop, Interpublic Group’s Deutsch, New York, under CCO Peter Nicholson, is responsible for the work.

Anderson said the exhibit is part of Westin’s initiative to associate its hotels with “peacefulness and tranquility.” (Union Square abuts Westin’s local hotel properties, which include the landmark St. Francis.) “We wanted to develop an extension of the recent and successful out-of-home campaign under way in a number of markets where we’ve taken the idea of renewal in the most stressed areas and created an area of escape,” Anderson said.

The campaign included subway wraps in New York using scenes from an oasis, rain forest and undersea, Anderson said.

“This is how it should feel” is the campaign tagline.