No Walks On The Beach As Hilton Focuses On 'The Stay'

More than 20 years ago, a hotel company made a big deal about having a great bed. And the world went: “Duh.”

More recently, Hilton, a brand more associated with lodging than any other, launched a campaign focused on, yes, “The Stay.” So it might be time for another “Duh.”

The “It Matters Where You Stay” campaign was launched in the summer and used humor to break the “sameness” the company’s ad agency saw in surveying the hotel advertising landscape.

Instead of vacationers walking on a beach, Hilton ads showed some of the pitfalls that happened on the road. For instance, one had a family showing up at a creepy property that was not exactly as advertised. And in another, Paris Hilton herself was shown arriving at a Hilton with an entourage and too many suitcases -- using the Hilton “Confirmed Connecting Room” option to store all of her stuff.

Amy Martin Ziegenfuss, senior vice president, global enterprise and brand marketing, said this campaign was nearly a year in the making. Research showed that a hotel stay, and being truly cared for, are the crucial elements that can make or break a trip. That led Hilton to the “breakthrough” idea of elevating The Stay.



Humor, said Ziegenfuss, “is a way to connect us all,” so the new campaign uses it to push against some of the common but unspoken pitfalls of travel. Throughout the campaign, “we’re laughing at relatable situations together, which brings a down-to-earth element to the campaign, and which customers are already telling us they appreciate.”

The Hilton campaign was handled by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, which deployed what it calls its Disruption methodology in developing the campaign. The key to disruption, Ziegenfuss said,  is “identifying the right conventions to move deliberately away from ways of thinking and assumptions about the market that are ripe to be broken.”

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

In addition to Paris Hilton’s onscreen role, the voice of the campaign is that of veteran actress Catherine O’Hara, who has won an Emmy Awards for “Schitt’s Creek.”

To extend the brand platform, Hilton leaned into social media, experiential and influencers. Across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, the company has engaged in a robust conversation about travel and trip disasters by helping travelers have a better stay.

What’s next – an airline focusing on The Flight?

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