HOLIDAY INN MAKES ITS MARK TO TOUT AMENITIES: ADS' YUTZY GUY WANTS MORE THAN COMFORTS OF HOME

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A 37-year-old man still living with his parents is the unlikely star of a estimated new $15 million effort for Holiday Inn.

The first spot, breaking today, introduces "Mark," who resides in a converted attic bedroom. The campaign uses the saga of Mark's parents urging him to pay rent as the springboard to promote Holiday Inn's services.

The effort consists of a series of spots that detail Mark's rather pathetic life. In the initial ad, Mark rebuffs his parents' request for rent by claiming his kid status. "I'm a kid and kids should stay for free and eat for free," he says.

In the second spot breaking March 22, he agrees to pay rent, but in return, he wants a rewards program that gives him points or frequent flier miles.

In subsequent executions, Mark asks for amenities including meeting facilities, catering and a cooked-to-order breakfast. His parents' response is always the same: "What does this look like . . . a Holiday Inn?"

The ads, from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, were created by Creative Director David Lubars, art director Dean Hanson and copywriter Peter McHugh, and will run in spot news and on cable.

HYPING SPECIFIC FEATURES

The effort is designed to hype the specific offerings provided by Holiday Inn full-service hotels. The target audience is business and leisure travelers in the 25-to-54-year-old bracket.

"We needed to find a wrapper that could talk to all constituencies," said Mr. Lubars of the campaign's story line. He added the agency needed a universal theme to keep the audience interested, while producing a "tactical campaign with unrelated benefits."

The Fallon creative team looked at more than 50 "Mark" candidates before choosing actor Ross Brockley to play the part. "We needed someone with a yutz quality," said Mr. Lubars, adding, that with poor casting, the advertising could look like a "bad sitcom."

The quirky, yet family friendly approach is drastically different from Fallon's first campaign for Holiday Inn's renovation program. That commercial -- which broke on the 1997 Super Bowl -- and ran only once -- angered many franchisees, especially those in the Bible Belt. It featured a man who had some renovations

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