During the review for the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide account, the company's chief marketing officer categorized the bulk of the pitches into two classes: too ordinary or too outlandish. Except for DDB Worldwide's.
The New York agency last week won creative responsibilities for the Sheraton Hotel & Resorts and the Starwood Preferred Guests lodging chains, while its Optimum Media arm nabbed the $65 million to $80 million in media buying for all of Starwood's brands.
BREAKING IN SEPTEMBER
Keith Ferazzi, the chief marketing officer, declined to disclose strategy or creative in a new Sheraton campaign, which is slated to break in September. The $35 million-plus global effort will include TV, print and radio.
Mr. Ferazzi did, however, share details of why six other agencies didn't make the cut. He said the creative pitches featured often-overused scenes of happy hotel guests and the inside of beautiful rooms; the more outrageous ideas ranged from an overweight Zen master to an ad backed by throbbing rock music.
Although he was looking for "a distinct creative look that you've never seen in the industry," Mr. Ferazzi felt that none of those concepts-especially the "screaming guitars" executions-would appeal to the Sheraton customer.
"Jimi Hendrix probably did not stay at a Sheraton," he quipped.
Mr. Ferazzi said he didn't want a campaign that was "different for the sake of being different." He wanted "different that will also drive revenues" and a creative strategy that would "establish real emotion around the brand."
Mr. Ferazzi joined Starwood while the review was already in process.
As for Starwood Preferred Guests, Mr. Ferazzi would say only that the goal is to make its branded credit card "the first lodging card in [customers'] wallet."
OTHER BRANDS STAY PUT
Creative duties for other Starwood entities remain with their current agencies. The Westin and W hotel assignments stay at DDB's Chicago office; the St. Regis and the Luxury Collection remain at Cone/Godley, Boston; and Four Points Hotels sticks with Ogilvy & Mather, Atlanta.
O&M's New York office was the incumbent on Starwood media buying, as well as creative on the Sheraton and Preferred Guests brands. It declined to participate in the review.
The other agencies in the review were Y&R Advertising, Bates Worldwide, Weiss