Way to Blue lands major InterContinental Hotels Group brief to launch new brand in Europe

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has appointed the international agency Way to Blue to launch its luxury brand Kimpton into Europe, with the account led from London.

A Kimpton location in Chicago
A Kimpton location in Chicago

The win continues Way To Blue's move into the consumer space - the eight-office firm's origins are in film and television, but it has been diversifying.

Hotels giant IHG acquired the then 62-site US chain Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2015. In January 2016 it announced that the first Kimpton hotel outside the US would launch in Amsterdam in 2017, and it was suggested that further expansion would follow. Way To Blue has an office in the Dutch capital.

Way to Blue's PR, social and digital duties on the Amsterdam opening commenced last month, following a thorough pitch process that started early last summer. WPP agency Clarion and Havas-owned One Green Bean were among the shortlisted agencies.

PRWeek understands that the three-year brief is likely to be worth in excess of £500,000 ($610,000) annually to the agency, which has around 100 staff across its various locations.

The account is led by two London-based directors who both joined the agency last year; global head of consumer brand Alan Twigg and group digital director Claire Slight. He is reporting into Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Europe brand director Jacque Riley, who is also a new appointment, and IHG comms manager Emily Sexton.

Emma Corcoran, IHG’s Vice President, corporate affairs, Europe said that Way To Blue had "proved very quickly that they understood and had true affinity with the Kimpton brand".

The agency's CEO Adam Rubins said: "This stunning brand was conceived after a trip to Europe by the company’s founder, Bill Kimpton. To bring the Kimpton brand home for its European launch is not only a very exciting moment for us here at Way to Blue, but a landmark one for IHG and the brand."

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