Y&R, New York Named Lead Creative for Hampton Hotels

WPP Shop Will Handle Digital, Creative for Hilton's Second Largest Brand

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After losing the marquee brand in the Hilton Hotels portfolio just over a year ago, WPP's Y&R is expanding its business with the hospitality giant. It has picked up lead creative duties for Hampton, Hilton's second biggest nameplate, after a review.

Y&R lost the Hilton Hotels creative business to indie Cramer-Krasselt last January but it stayed on the roster doing work for the Waldorf-Astoria and Conrad brands, and was invited to pitch the Hampton business when it went into review last year.

Hampton declined to comment, but Jim Elliott, chief creative officer of Y&R, New York, said "it was a long pitch, but actually one of the most fun pitches i've ever worked on... we just connected with their personality from the get-go."

To wit, Hampton, whose corporate headquarters are based in Memphis, Tenn., sent an Elvis impersonator to Y&R to deliver the good news of the account win.

The pitch was led by Judy Christa-Cathey, VP-Hampton brand marketing at Hilton Hotel Corp.

Hampton's previous agency was Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB, which had handled the business for nearly eight years. The agency had also handled creative duties for Homewood Suites, which was moved to Publicis Groupe 's Publicis, New York, this summer. DraftFCB did not participate in either review.

Hampton, which in many places is also still known as "Hampton Inn," has more than 1,800 properties globally. Y&R, New York, will be the brand's lead agency, tasked to handle creative and digital work, but sibling VML will also work with Hampton to provide digital support.

New work is slated to launch soon. Hilton spent nearly $30 million on domestic measured media in 2011, up from $26 million in 2010, according to Kantar.

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