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Westin Hotels Breaking Up With Deutsch

Agency Will Continue to Work on Starwood's Sheraton Brand

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York, is no longer agency of record for Starwood's Westin Hotels & Resorts brand, the marketer said, but the agency remains on the hotel company's roster.

Deutsch, which was awarded Westin in 2002, will continue to serve as agency of record for Starwood's Sheraton brand. Westin gave the agency 90-day notice on the account earlier this month.

Shifting to online
"Westin has shifted an increasing amount of our spend online," a Starwood spokeswoman said. "Deutsch has always handled Westin's offline creative, and at this time, it made sense to terminate our partnership as we continue to evaluate our marketing strategy. We don't anticipate any other changes for any of our other brands anytime soon."

Starwood, in addition to Westin and Sheraton, is the parent of W Hotels and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. Other agencies on Starwood's roster include Omnicom Group's Atmosphere BBDO and RDA.

Westin thus far hasn't launched an official review, and the fate of the account -- whether it will go into play or be absorbed by another roster agency -- is unclear.

Not a clean break
Deutsch has been asked to do some guerrilla and experiential marketing on a project basis; Westin will continue to work with Avenue A/ Razorfish for online creative development and online media, and with MediaVest for offline media strategy and buying.

"The work we've created for them has included buzz-generating experiential marketing that has built excitement and positive momentum for the Westin brand, and a marketing campaign that continues to run globally," a Deutsch spokeswoman said.

Starwood in 2007 spent a total of $63 million on domestic measured media to market its various hotel brands, but devoted half, about $32 million, to Westin, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The hotel category has seen a lot of account activity in recent months, with a number of chains including Hyatt and Embassy Suites changing marketing partners.

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