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BRONZE WINNER: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
“Real Cities”

BRONZE WINNER: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts “Real Cities”

Client: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts

Entrant Company: BBC Worldwide

Media Agency: MPG International

Entry Category: A Global Campaign or multinational campaign running in more than one region

Names to be credited with submission:
• Geraldine Connell, Tactical Marketing Manager, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
• Vanessa Healey- VP, Global Marketing, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
• Peta Dunnell, Account Director, MPG
• Hannah Armstrong- Account Director, BBC Worldwide
• Alan Fagan, European Sales Director, BBC Worldwide

Time Period of Campaign: 2008

Case Study Summary:

Marketing Situation: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a truly global hotel brand, with 159 hotels, located in more than 60 countries with local insight that comes from over 60 years of experience. InterContinental is committed to helping guests make the most of their time. It goes out of its way to connect its well-travelled guests to what’s special about a destination, by sharing knowledge so travellers enjoy authentic experiences that will enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. The brand introduced a new brand positioning designed to ensure that travelers make the most of their stays by being “in the know.” The core InterContinental target audience is up-market, typically male, married with kids, and travels around 10 times a year.

Most want to benefit from authentic, enriching and local experiences when they travel, so a communication program needed to persuade these discerning travelers that InterContinental hotels worldwide had the ability to tap into its employees’ local knowledge to make their trip special.

Key Insights: Knowledgeable, local celebrities are ideal candidates to bring their various cities to life and identify the hidden hotspots and compliment input from InterContinental Concierge teams. The BBC Worldwide editorial team was interested in developing a series of travelogues that provided an “insider’s guide” to a major city. The idea was pre-tested with viewers, and a combined total of 89% agreed that they would “definitely” or “probably” watch the series. BBC Worldwide would not only create a TV show, but also design multimedia material that would take the message across print, online and ambient media.

Media Strategy: The Real Cities evolved as a series of 30-minute travelogues designed to inspire potential InterContinental guests to see beyond the tourist trail. BBC Worldwide acted as the media and creative resource to ensure that InterContinental’s message reached travelers at all stages of their journey. Key “travel corridor” moments were identified, so that promotion could reach guest in-flight, while checking into their hotel, in their room, and also via print and online.

Given that the target audience was likely to include regular visitors to some of the Real Cities destinations, the programs were designed to highlight “hidden hotspots.” Each episode featured three well-known locals, such as fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, model Alek Wek, and Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey as “tour guides.” Episodes were accompanied by ads stating that the program was made “in association with” InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

Branded trails promoted each episode, and a microsite was developed to support the television series; This online version not only carried advertising for InterContinental, but also provided additional information such as maps and directions for the hidden hotspots. “Business cards” that promoted the show and microsite were created for each city and distributed with room keys in selected InterContinental hotels.

How Could this be a Template for Other Campaigns or for World Class Standards? The Real Cities series engendered a strong connection with an often-elusive target audience. Without question, the program conveyed the InterContinental brand positioning seamlessly in a multimedia fashion. Also by creating something useful, travelers admitted to an increased propensity to stay at InterContinental locations.

Results: The Real Cities achieved changes in perception for InterContinental, as well strong awareness and recall metrics. Among BBC Worldwide viewers, 67% recalled at least one element of the campaign and 33% recalled InterContinental Hotels as the sponsor. Research also showed that among those consumers who recalled the campaign, 36% said they planned to stay with an InterContinental over the next 12 months.