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Taj Hotels’ stylish ad campaign answers the challenge to create a modern, experiential and visual narrative while communicating traditional themes of attentive service and formal luxury.
Mumbai-based Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces unveiled a new branding campaign this summer called Performance.Art, designed to show how the level of hospitality at Taj’s top tier properties aspires toward perfection.
There are two parts to this ad campaign told through figurative and literal storytelling, complemented with vibrantly colored and richly textured photography. Taj also created a tidy little in-room book using the imagery and editorial to describe the hotel group’s brand values and brand experience dating back to the company’s launch in 1903.
“Performance.Art is the essence of how we conduct our business,” says Raymond Bickson, managing director/CEO of Taj Hotels. “The big idea is how to communicate this practice of perfect hospitality in a differentiated and uniquely Taj fashion.”
The first component of Performance.Art is highly metaphorical. It draws a direct parallel between the well-rehearsed orchestration of hotel operations at a true luxury hotel and the polished choreography of a world-class dance company. To visually illustrate that, Creative Director Craig Allen and his team chose five global dance companies and photographed them in a way that communicates five of Taj Hotels’ brand pillars.
For example, one of the performance troupes is the American-based Martha Graham Dance Company, which almost 100 years ago reinvigorated early 20th century dance by producing modern repertoires inspired by the paintings of abstract artists. So Allen photographed three of Martha Graham’s dancers working today, aligned in movement similar to Matisse’s iconic La Danse series.
‘The Practice of Perfect Hospitality’
The second and much more literal delivery of the Performance.Art campaign highlights eight areas of the luxury hotel experience at Taj, each profiled with two photos apiece.
One photo depicts the endless “practice” taking place among the staff in the back of the house to perfect a particular guest experience. The second photo illustrates the “performance” of that experience in the front of the house, executed to perfection.
The definition of “perfection,” as it’s used here, is fluid.
“The critical thing is we’re not saying Taj’s hospitality is always perfect,” explains Piers Schmidt, chairman of luxury branding for Taj Hotels. “What we are saying is that Taj is the brand that will never cease in its quest and search for perfection.”
For example, one of the spreads in the Performance.Art photo series is titled “Iron Maiden.” The first photo shows a housekeeper ironing a bed linen to perfection using a vintage steam iron. The accompanying editorial reads, in part: “It may be antique but she knows that no modern appliance does the job even half as well.”
The corresponding photo profiles a beautiful woman wearing an impressive array of jewelry, admiring and touching the perfectly ironed linen.
All together, the eight photo sets provide a storyline stretching throughout the Taj Hotel experience, incorporating food, beverage, spa and art themes.
The first visuals discuss the “petal man” delivering fresh flower petals to a girl named Suneeta, who picks only the finest petals to be used to shower guests on arrival. The final two photos show a Varanasi weaver working at a loom to create the beautiful sari dresses worn by female Taj Hotel hostesses “taking position in the Palace lobby.”
For a more indepth behind-the-scenes look at the making of Performance.Art, Taj Hotels produced this seven-minute documentary.