Hilton’s challenge was to distinguish its brand from the numerous competing upscale hotel chains. It’s first objective was, therefore, to make the Hilton’ stand out from other hotel advertising. ‘‘There is a lot of hotel advertising out there, but if you take the logo off, they are almost interchangeable,’’ a Bozell executive told Advertising Age on October 5, 1998.
Using celebrities to represent the brand was essential to this agenda. But this approach was not without its danger. While ‘‘celebrity driven ad campaigns [were] immediate attention-getters’’ that could break ‘‘through the clutter,’’ of other advertising, the Chicago Tribune noted, Hilton’s effort ran the risk of having consumers confuse its brand with those of other companies the celebrities had endorsed in the past. Alternately, consumers might assume that Hilton was too exclusive, if the likes of Naomi Campbell lodged there.
To alleviate this risk, Hilton and Bozell conducted extensive pre-launch testing in key Hilton markets, such as Los Angeles, New York, and London, to ensure that the Hilton was accessible to its target audience.That’s where we came into picture, literary.
We helped create branding imagery to help both their print brand as well as defining imagery on their site.Once the images were taken, edited and approved, the next task was to bring the message of the campaign—that guests should expect a memorable experience when staying at the Hilton—to its chosen audience of elite business and leisure travelers. Print was the predominant medium used because of its ability to hone in on select niches.
For instance, one campaign addressed the slogan “See the World” as a family-focused message in magazines such as Family Fun and Travel & Leisure Family. Finally, Hilton used our photos as part of their website archive of imagery. True 1000’s of photos of Hilton Hotels are taken daily, however, not all of hose images dwell within the archives of the Hilton. Ours do. Cheers.