Hilton ribs romantic streak in travel ads with focus on

Dive Brief:

  • Hilton is supporting the introduction of its first global brand platform, called “Hilton. For the Stay,” with a new advertising campaign, per a press release.
  • Creative focuses on the benefits of booking at a Hilton instead of showcasing generic, romanticized travel imagery like a walk on the beach. A slate of ads features Paris Hilton, celebrity influencer and great-granddaughter of company founder Conrad Hilton, and voiceover from actor Catherine O’Hara. 
  • TV and digital video started airing in the U.S. today (July 25), while Hilton will later extend the push into the U.K. and select markets in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Hilton is taking advantage of the bounce back in travel with a marketing strategy that prioritizes functional perks without sacrificing a humorous edge.

Dive Insight:

Hilton is enacting a bit of a brand makeover following two-plus years of pandemic disruptions. The company is using the recent travel rebound as a launchpad for a new ad campaign, “It Matters Where You Stay,” and global platform that hone in on the ease of the hotel stay itself versus the glossy depictions of potential getaways used by some of its competitors. TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, which has worked with Hilton since 2017, helped design the effort.  

Ads starring Paris Hilton deploy the celebrity’s famously luxe persona to illustrate different services the chain offers to guests, along with digital features like the Hilton Honors app. In one spot, the socialite is remiss to leave her dogs behind for a business trip, but eventually brings them thanks to Hilton’s pet-friendly accommodations. In another, she books a connecting room just to store all of her excess luggage but winkingly acknowledges that the extra space could also be used for family stays. 

The square focus on perks serves as a contrast to how some rivals have reemerged from the pandemic quiet period. Marriott International last summer kicked off the most extensive full-funnel marketing campaign in its 90-year history. “Power of Travel” is emotionally-driven, with impressionistic, artsier ads that position travel as an experience that can be personally transformative

Other aspects of Hilton’s campaign swipe at digital disruptors. A TV spot called “Haunted” shows a family showing up to a rental they booked through an Airbnb-like home-sharing site, only to be surprised that it’s far creepier than advertised.

“It Matters Where You Stay” will build on the initial run of video ads, which span 13 commercials, with audio, print, out-of-home and social media components on apps including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. On the latter front, Hilton will partner with influencers and try to tap into current conversations around trip-planning and travel disasters. Surging travel demand this summer has created a chaotic collision with airlines and airports that are facing labor challenges and other resource shortages.  

“In developing the campaign, we were inspired by showing the realness of travel; the tensions, the hardships, the too-high expectations,” said Amy Ferguson, chief creative officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, in a statement. “It goes against convention in the hospitality category and it’s an exciting space for the brand to own.”

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