Marriott Appoints Figliulo & Partners as Global AOR for AC Hotels

Niche Hotel Brand Will Add 22 Hotels in 2016

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AC Hotel Washington D.C. at National Harbor
AC Hotel Washington D.C. at National Harbor Credit: Courtesy of AC Hotels by Marriott

Marriott International has selected Figliulo & Partners as global agency of record for its AC Hotels brand, which will add 22 locations in 2016.

Figliulo & Partners was brought on as the niche brand's first creative agency partner following a competitive review, conducted by Joanne Davis Consulting. AC Hotels, which has more than 80 hotels across Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Turkey, France and the U.S., was created through a joint venture between Marriott International and hotelier Antonio Catalan in 2011.

"We were looking for a smart creative agency that had strong digital chops and global sensibilities, and when we met the F & P team, we were struck by the senior leadership and the experience they brought to the table," said Dan Vinh, VP-global marketing, lifestyle brands at Marriott International.

He added that AC Hotels needed a creative agency to help it launch a global brand campaign and integrated marketing plan as it expands to new markets. The chain debuted in the U.S. in November 2014 in New Orleans, and expects to expand beyond its current roster of five U.S. locations to 17 by the end of the year, he said. Within the next three years, AC Hotels plans on adding 50 locations across the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

F&P is driving strategy and creative for the campaign, anticipated to launch in Q1. Print, out-of-home, digital, social and mobile elements are planned for the initiative. While online videos are part of the effort, the brand has no plans at the moment to run any TV ads.

Marriott International has 19 brands in its portfolio, and Mr. Vinh said each hotel has its own personality to "address different travel needs."

"AC Hotels is for the next generation of business travelers who are looking for a place with strong design aesthetics that recognizes that the modern business traveler can do it all themselves and they want a space that's inspiring, but they don't want to pay for things they don't need," he said.

One of the unique aspects of AC Hotels, which looks to engage travelers with global perspectives who "appreciate European amenities," is its food offering, said Mr. Vinh. The chain's breakfast includes fresh-baked croissants and sliced ham and cheeses and the evening snacks consist of tapas-inspired small plates.

In addition to leading campaign work, F&P will collaborate with AC Hotels' other agency partners, such as experiential shop BMF Media, Ballantines PR and Amsterdam-based LikeFriends, which handles the brand's website and social media.

Figliulo & Partners President and Founding Partner Judith Carr-Rodriguez said the agency is excited to make AC Hotels "a true global powerhouse." The shop is leading the account out of its New York office.

Mr. Vinh declined to disclose budget information.

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