Work’s Road Trip Earns Super 8 Motels’ Creative

Work took the scenic route to win the creative portion of Super 8 Motels’ $12 million account, the client confirmed.

The agency pitch team drove the 2,700 miles from its Richmond, Va., office to the client’s Canadian re-view site in Calgary, Alberta

“They needed a new campaign developed for their franchisee meeting this November,” said shop chief executive officer Don Just. “There was a short time window to understand the brand and its personality.”

Just, Work president and executive creative officer Cabell Harris, and director of new business Tina Puente interviewed room maids, managers and customers at dozens of Super 8 Motels en route.

In Calgary, they presented a vid-eo and a scrapbook of recommendations culled from their observations.

“We offered a pretty candid evaluation of the properties,” said Just. “By the time we reached Canada, we had a sense of where the creative should go.”

Super 8, a subsidiary of Cendant Corp. in Parsippany, N.J., was looking for a creative campaign that would speak to the company’s franchisees and guests.

The challenge, said Just, is for the chain to present a consistent face. Super 8’s 2,000 motels are independently owned, but the corporation needs a brand focus that is mirrored across all U.S. and Canadian properties. The company recently introduced a more rigorous service inspection program, for example, a move Just called a signal that the brand was serious about its image. The economy lodger competes against Motel 6, Day’s Inn and Travel Lodge.

Creative is likely to focus on what Harris called the client’s salt-of-the-earth personality. “We’ll depart from the usual advertising by restricting emphasis on product and focus instead on the user and his emotional needs.”

Review contenders were undisclosed. New York incumbent Grey, whose Mediacom retains planning and buying duties, did not defend.

Work’s Super 8 broadcast campaign will appear in early 2003.