Homewood Suites Goes Into Review

Hotel Chain Ends Nearly Decade-long Partnership With DraftFCB

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Hilton hotel brand Homewood Suites has ended its nearly decade-long relationship with DraftFCB, putting the creative account into review, according to executives familiar with the matter. The brand's media agency, Omnicom Group's OMD, will not be affected by the review.

At press time it was believed that DraftFCB would not defend. A spokeswoman for Homewood Suites declined to comment, and DraftFCB referred calls to the client.

DraftFCB's roster has been somewhat in flux. In the last year it lost chunks of its Kraft business, such as Planters to Omnicom's Being, a spinoff of TBWA, and Mac & Cheese to MDC Partners' CP&B; it still handles one of Kraft's biggest brands, Oreo, as well as Club Social crackers and Kraft cheese. Personal-care marketer SC Johnson, which has worked with DraftFCB since the 1950s, in December put its entire marketing account into review -- a move that poses a serious threat to the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency.

Its wins in 2010 include Taco Bell's digital duties, which went back to DraftFCB following a year at sibling agency R/GA; agency of record duties for paint-maker Valspar; customer-relationship-management duties for Volkswagen and Electronic Arts; and retail marketing for Kikkoman and Sony Corp.'s Sony Electronics division.

Putting the account into review signals that Hilton's hotel chains appear to be mixing up agency rosters. In January, the Hilton flagship brand moved its account from WPP's Y&R to independent Cramer-Krasselt nearly a year after the hotel giant had announced it was looking at agencies beyond Y&R.

Homewood Suites has incrementally decreased its measured media spending over the last three years, according to Kantar. It spent $6.9 million in 2010, $7.5 million in 2009 and $8.4 million in 2008.

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Contributing: Jennifer Rooney

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