RDA to Handle $4 Million Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- W Hotels, a division of Starwood Resorts and Hotels, has selected RDA International, New York, as the agency of record for its $4 million creative account, a spokesman for the hotel chain said.

RDA beat out at least three other agencies for the account, including the incumbent, Grey Global Group's GWhiz, New York, which defended.

Neither Ross Klein, W Hotels' vice president and chief marketing officer, nor representatives from RDA International could be reached for comment.

Spending plans
W Hotels spent $3.2 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, and $1.6 million through August of this year. The chain is expected to spend more in 2004 as occupancy increases and new hotels in Mexico City and Seoul, South Korea, open. Parent company Starwood spent $66 million last year on all its brands, and $43.6 million through August of this year.

RDA is a boutique shop in New York's SoHo distrcit, but it brings a particularly strong emphasis to the interactive element, something W has used extensively in its advertising and marketing. The hotel chain launched an Internet campaign as recently as August to market its "Weekenders" promotion, which was handled by Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty Interactive, New York.

RDA has done interactive work for Ralph Lauren's Ralph Fragrance, Sony, Polaroid and Nivea, among others. The shop's TV and print campaigns have included Sony, cable television network Showtime, Jones Apparel, Hachette-Filipacchi and Crain Communications, parent company of AdAge.com.

W Hotels has 20 upscale properties, 17 in the U.S. The chain earlier this month launched a co-branding promotion with Volkswagen of America's new luxury sedan, Phaeton.

Starwood's other hotel chains include the Sheraton, St. Regis, Westin and Four Points Sheraton brands, as well as 75 global resort destinations it brands under "The Luxury Collection." Starwood roster shops include Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch (Westin and Sheraton) and Avrett Free & Ginsberg (St. Regis), and WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson (Four Points), all New York.