Holiday Inn Express Reinvents Stay Smart Campaign for a Digital Audience

Skift Take

Stay Smart 2.0 is a fascinating case study on how advertising has changed over the past decade and what it takes for hotel brands to adapt and stay relevant in a digitally driven world.

— Samantha Shankman

Holiday Inn Express is  teaming up with popular media brands including Buzzfeed, CollegeHumor, and “The Daily Show” to introduce the IHG brand to a new customer set.

Holiday Inn Express revived its wildly popular Stay Smart TV campaign, which originally ran from 1998 to 2008, in April of this year. But the media landscape has changed significantly since the original campaign, and a TV commercial or magazine ad no longer cut it.

In addition to new TV commercials and billboard ads introduced in April, Holiday Inn Express also launched an interactive campaign that encourages people to share any smart or clever thought they have via Twitter, Vine, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #StaySmart.

All posts are categorized and updated on where brand ambassador Jason Jones of “The Daily Show” also posts travel trips.

Holiday Inn Express is also meeting potential customers, presumably millennials, where they are online. It posts “Stay Smart” lists on Buzzfeed including “13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart” and “20 Animals That Are Smarter Than You.”

It also launched an original video series “Inventions Made Better” with CollegeHumor. The videos, which will be shared solely on social, put on a spin on traditional hotel features like a self-rewarding exercise machine and a bed that literally pushes guests out of bed. The first video to be released is embedded below.

Hotels and the travel industry as whole are navigating a new marketing landscape as they figure out how to reach millennials in a 24/7 digital and mobile world. Holiday Inn Express is doing an impressive job of taking an old campaign and recreating it for a new reality.

The first video from CollegeHumor and Holiday Inn Express reinvents the alarm clock:

Jason Jones of “The Daily Show” launched the Smart Thinking campaign in late June 2013 with the below video:

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