The Kansas City-based independent agency was picked after a review process begun before The Richards Group incident. Motel 6 said it was selected for its ability to "build modern brands for modern consumers.
“Motel 6 is an iconic brand with a 58-year history leading the economy lodging segment. A large part of that success has been our commitment to keeping the light on for our guests and being there when and where they need us—and that has been a considerable advantage for us in a year like 2020,” said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality. “Still, you can’t continue to lead a category in today’s environment without evolving, which is why we are excited to be partnering with Barkley to advance our strategic vision for the brand and shine a fresh, new light on a legacy brand.”
In October, the chain cut ties with Richards Group after founder Stan Richards remarked in a internal agency meeting that a proposed ad was "too Black" and threatened to disenfranchise Motel 6's "significant white supremacist constituents." That began a cascade of client losses at Richards, including Home Depot, Orkin, Keurig, Dr Pepper, Advance Auto Parts and H.E.B., after which Richards stepped down.
Motel 6 has been putting more emphasis on branding in recent months and says it has "implemented a number of initiatives to restructure and evolve the business in ways that place greater emphasis on its brand management." As part of this push, the chain named Adam Cannon to VP-brand management, a new role at Motel 6.
Motel 6 is also looking to up its game with the addition of 98 new franchises this year and the addition of what it says are new "brand standards" across its properties focused on quality, safety and service.
“As an iconic and beloved symbol of travel, we’re excited to partner with Motel 6 on the next chapter in the brand’s trajectory,” says Jason Parks, chief growth officer at Barkley. “We’re excited to build on their rich history and strong foundation to bring bold new ideas to build an even stronger whole brand designed for the modern consumer.”
Barkley's first work for Motel 6 will be a return-to-travel campaign.