The ads will appear in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today as the hotel chain chases the business-travel market as well as those customers it calls its "everyday heroes."
'We forgive you'
Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, created the campaign. Holiday Inn's "Great Sign" appears in each print ad, set against a backdrop of a sunrise or sunset, along with humorous copy. The first ad that appears reads: "About the towels, we forgive you."
The second, playing on another part of Holiday Inn's tradition -- the swimming pool -- and spoofing the amenities offered by higher-priced hotels, reads: "Sparkling or still? Depends on how many people are in the pool."
There are seven ads total, each featuring the Holiday Inn road-side sign.
"When most of us think of Holiday Inn, we think of that lighted sign," said Todd Riddle, Fallon's group creative director. "It's a powerful representation of what people are looking for today -- nostalgia, humor, comfort."
Holiday Inn, a unit of the InterContinental Hotels Group, spent $23 million in measured media last year according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. But more than half of that was on cable TV and outdoor, with less than $2 million in newspapers.
"We haven't been in print in a long time," said Mark Snyder, senior vice president for brand management for Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts. "We wanted to re-establish the voice and tone of the brand and felt this was the best way to do it. One of the most gorgeous things about the brand is that it doesn't have pretenses, and that's what we tried to convey."
The campaign will also include some out-of-home in the Atlanta area. Mr. Snyder said he will explore a TV campaign with Fallon for "late 2004, early 2005," saying that the current campaign that features the slacker named Mark and his family ("What do you think this is, a Holiday Inn?") has run its course.