Webisode Series Will Cross Country For Holiday Inn Express
Daily webisodes of The Smart Show will follow actor Henry Dittman and a co-host on a two-month, cross-country road trip that aims to find the "smart" attractions in cities across America. The online video will be hosted on a microsite created by Digitas.
Digitas and This Just In (a comedy Web site co-owned by AOL and HBO) will co-executive-produce the webisodes, but consumer participation is at the heart of the campaign. Holiday Inn Express launched a contest on Tuesday to find Dittman's co-host.
Users are invited to shoot and upload two-minute audition videos to hiexpress.com/thesmartshow. After August 20, a panel of cross-company judges will choose five finalists to create a second video where they complete a specific "smart" challenge, and the microsite community will vote to choose the winner.
Site visitors will also help to guide the duo on the trip by posting blogs about interesting hotspots in their hometowns.
"For years our guests have given us feedback on how they would like to see the 'Stay Smart' campaign evolve, and with 'The Smart Show' we are truly putting the control in their hands," said Verchele Wiggins, vice president of brand management for Holiday Inn Express.
Wiggins added that the clever, playful nature of the webisodes will be a natural extension of the brand's personality--one that has been personified in the Holiday Inn Express TV commercials.