When Motel 6 opened its doors in 1962, a room cost $6 per night -- hence the name Motel 6.
Those low rates had apparently added up by 2001, when the hotel chain then owned by Accor purchased ad time in CBS's broadcast of Super Bowl XXXV, when the average cost for a 30-second berth ran $2.2 million before adjusting for inflation. As it happened, The Richards Group in Dallas was able to tell an effective story for Motel 6 in half that time.
Fifteen-second ads aren't your normal fare for the Super Bowl, where advertisers arguably fear going unnoticed more than anything else, but they aren't unheard-of either. AT&T, for example, used a batch of 15-second spots in the 2002 game to tease its mLife brand leading up to a 60-second spot in the third quarter ("Accountants," "Farmer," "Grandfather" and "Belly Buttons.") In 2011, Salesforce used a 30-second commercial to lead into the halftime show and a 15-second follow-up to lead out ("Cloud Interview," "Impossible Things"). And Persil ProClean pitched its little-known brand to Super Bowl audiences in just 15 seconds in 2016 ("#1 Rated").
The Motel 6 execution here economically makes fun of game referees -- perfect fare for big-game viewers. See "Stanley's Speech" for Nike in 1995 and "Instant Replay" for Budweiser in 2003 for different twists on refs.
Motel 6 would be purchased for $1.9 billion by the Blackstone Group in 2012.
Copywriter: Mike Bales. Art director: Jim Baldwin.
BRAND: Motel 6
AGENCY: The Richards Group