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Hampton Names GSD&M New Creative Agency After Review

New Campaign Expected in Early 2015

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Judy Christa-Cathey, VP-global brand marketing, Hilton Garden Inn & Hampton Hotels
Judy Christa-Cathey, VP-global brand marketing, Hilton Garden Inn & Hampton Hotels

The Hampton hospitality chain has named Omnicom's GSD&M its new creative agency after a review.

The review, which was handled by consultancy Bob Wolf Partners/TPG in Santa Monica, Calif., included three finalists: independent Chicago-based shop Cramer-Krasselt, Los Angeles-based indie David & Goliath and GSD&M, which is in Austin, Texas.

The account had previously been at WPP's Y&R Chicago, and that shop participated in the review initially. Six shops were originally invited, though Y&R did not make it to the final round, according to Judy Christa-Cathey, VP-global brand marketing, Hilton Garden Inn & Hampton Hotels, both part of the Hilton group of hotels. Although Y&R lost Hampton, it is still on the HIlton roster, as it recently picked up the DoubleTree brand. The company's brands also include Conrad Suites, the Waldorf Astoria and Homewood Suites

Ms. Christa-Cathey said the brand chose GSD&M because "we wanted an agency that had a clear understanding of the Hampton brand and what makes it special." She added that the shop had "strong consumer insights and strategy, fresh creative and problem-solving skills."

Ms. Christa-Cathey said a new campaign is expected to launch in early 2015 and will have a noticeable shift in creative tone. New creative will be aimed at celebrating Hampton's culture and hospitality, an aspect of the brand Ms. Christa-Cathey said has not been recognized enough. She added that, like most other companies, Hampton will aim its efforts at millennials. There will also be a concerted multicultural effort, including Hispanic marketing.

Hampton spent about $23 million on U.S. measured media in 2013, according to Kantar Media. Among the company's brands, which are all owned by Blackstone Group, Hampton is the second-largest spender after the Hilton brand, which spent about $75 million in 2013.

For GSD&M, the Hampton win is the latest in a string of wins. In July, it won the Northwestern Mutual account, and in late May, the agency won media planning and buying and select creative projects for Chipotle.

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