Choice Hotels Chooses Leo Burnett, Doner for Advertising, Promotions

Marketer Wants Specific Messages for Comfort Inn, Econo Lodge, Clarion

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NEW YORK ( -- Choice Hotels has hired Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA and independent Doner to help it better differentiate its hotel-chain brands -- a welcome boost for two agencies that have struggled to land business of late.

Burnett will handle creative, while Doner will be tasked with promotions for Choice, which spent $73 million in measured media in 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Arnold, Boston, was the incumbent.

In recent years the marketer has crammed all of its hotel brands -- which include Comfort Inn, Econo Lodge and Clarion -- into ads featuring Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." Now it intends to create specific messaging for each brand.

"We anticipate great things from these new relationships," Chris Malone, chief marketing officer for Choice, said in a statement. "The teams at Doner and Leo Burnett both demonstrated tremendous expertise, strategy-driven creativity, and a passion for our business and our brands. We could not be more pleased with these selections and look forward to working with our new agency teams."

He added, "We're confident that both agencies will help us create promotions and ideas designed to drive RevPAR growth [a measure of occupancy rates and room prices] and deliver more reservations directly to our hotels."

"We're looking forward to creating innovative, integrated marketing programs that drive bookings in the here and now and create brand advantage for the long term," said David DeMuth, president and chief operating officer of Doner.

Added Leo Burnett President Rich Stoddart: "We plan to bring a fresh perspective and renewed creativity to Choice Hotels advertising with the goal of helping the company better connect with its guests."

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