With everyone talking about experience curation and creating a sense of place, can a glitzy advertising campaign focusing on those characteristics actually differentiate a luxury hotel brand?
A woman luxuriating in her hotel room after a hectic day of shopping. A group of fashionistas lounging, as fashionistas do, on a grand stairway in the Hôtel de Crillon. A gaggle of hipster musicians jamming in a hotel room. These are just a few of the scenes depicted in a new advertising campaign being rolled out by Rosewood Hotel Group this month.
According to Thuy Tranthi Rieder, group vice president marketing and sales for Rosewood Hotel Group, the company started promoting its sense of place lifestyle ethos in a big way in 2013, shortly after Sonia Cheng came on board as CEO. The initial Living Canvas campaign was as much about experience curation in a destination as the hotel itself. In the new Rosewood Regulars campaign, it is the guests who come to the forefront.
Using arresting, iconoclastic imagery, the new campaign is comprised of photography and short films revolving around five types of “Rosewood Regulars” who populate the brand’s properties. Shot at the newly-renovated Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, one could mistake the imagery as advertising for a fashion or high-end lifestyle brand. That is by design. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to position the hotel group as an innovator of global style.
The advertising campaign was developed in partnership with Studio Dangin, a KiDS Creative Company. Pascal Dangin, the agency’s owner and chief creative director, is known for his collaborations with the world’s most influential luxury brands, including Balenciaga, Balmain, and Prada. Dangin has also produced projects with innovative artists such as Madonna and Gus Van Sant.
Tranthi Rieder says Rosewood selected Studio Dangin because of “the similarities between its vision and our brand.” According to Studio Dangin literature, “We create relevant identities and new experiences that connect modern consumers with inspiring brands” and provide “audiences with a sense of discovery that compels desire.” Pascal Dangin himself is known for producing powerful imagery and using emotional storytelling techniques. Tranthi Rieder says Dangin’s “irreverent attitude of pushing boundaries and the way his images convey a unique sense of style and elegance” resonated with Rosewood. He and Cheng developed the vision together.
The Hôtel de Crillon serves as a backdrop for telling stories about different types of “affluential explorers” interacting with staff. Each theme is anchored by an adjective that is supposed to be evocative of the brand and its guests: Revolutionary, Iconic, Audacious, Diplomatic, and Radical.
Diplomatic shows an fashionista arriving back to her suite after a hectic day of shopping. Audacious shows young children goofing around in the hotel room while dad gets ready for a business meeting. Revolutionary features Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Balmain, and his friends hanging around and looking fabulous. Iconic depicts a 60-something woman stepping out of her limousine. Rosewood staff are there to help her avoid the paparazzi. Finally, Radical depicts twenty-something hipsters.
When asked about a lack of obvious ethnic diversity (only the Revolutionary version features people of color), Tranthi Rieder pushed back against the characterization. “I disagree with an assessment that the ads are not diverse. There is a diversity of age groups, genders and different types of connections between client and staff.” That said, as the campaign develops and new ads are shot in other locations, she notes Rosewood will “be paying attention to creating the right mix for particular places.”
The campaign launches this month with print and digital advertisement placement in key global publications ranging from Le Figaro to Vanity Fair to The Wall Street Journal. According to Tranthi Rieder, ads placed in digital formats will be shown in rotation, while specific print outlets will feature different ads, depending on the theme. The family with the businessman father is more likely to run in The Wall Street Journal or the FT, while the ads depicting diplomatic and iconic, showcasing strong, stylish women, will run in lifestyle and high fashion magazines, along with outlets like Conde Nast Traveler.
Tranthi Rieder says the success of the campaign will be measured by a combination of factors. “Of course, we will look at the metrics from the media plan. We also want to be sure we are establishing and creating differentiation for the brand and focusing on a sense of place,” Tranthi Rieder says. Additionally, “we will look at the accolades that are received.” In other words, image building may be just as important, or more so, than placing well-coiffed heads in beds.
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Photo credit: An image from Rosewood's new Regulars advertising campaign. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts