Got $100 Million to throw away? Apparently, Holiday Inn does.
Shared by admin Monday, June 7, 2010

Holiday Inn has recently launched a major branding campaign in nine global markets, including the U.S.  The theme of the effort is: Stay You.  Compelling isn’t it?  Stay me?  What else would I do?  I guess the creators of the campaign never saw the play:  “I Love You Just The Way You Are.  Now Change.”  Anyway, the launch commercial is a series of lame vignettes depicting people in various situations.   A super appears over each:  “Stay Curious” headlines a couple peering over a bridge.  “Stay Vocal” for a woman singing in a karaoke club.  “Stay Dad” as a little girl puts a fuzzy pink tiara on her Dad’s head.  And, since this is Holiday Inn’s first global effort, “Stay Fanatical” over a group of male business types in a pub/bar, ties at half-mast, cheering stiffly for a televised soccer match.  Got the picture?  For an added measure of toe-tapping, phony happiness, the visuals are accompanied by a witless little ditty:  “I like your messy hair.  I like the clothes you wear.” Really, when will ad land’s passion for obscure tunes from even more obscure CDs end? But I digress.  Two-thirds of the way through the 30 -second spot, two guys (I think they were in the pub/bar) walk (stagger?) into a Holiday Inn. As they enter, a voice-over tells us “we believe you are at your best when you can truly be yourself.”  Huh?  What has that got to do with where I spend the night?  What has that got to do with anything, except perhaps a Tony Robbins seminar?  The company’s Senior VP, Global Brand Management, has the answer:  “We want people to love the Holiday Inn brand because it understands the core values of our target consumers.”   Of course, Holiday Inn understands me on a deep, personal, emotional level.  How can I not love them now?  Mission accomplished!  I’m going straight to their website and book a room.  There have been many successful campaigns based on real, genuine consumer insights.  Nike’s “Just do it.”  MasterCard’s “Priceless.”  And the brilliant Dove work that celebrates “real” women to name a few.  But Holiday Inn’s once-over-lightly, shallow, pat pandering isn’t insight.  It’s a cliché served up in place of an idea that is truly unique and persuasive.  What a missed opportunity.  And what a colossal waste of money.