Embassy lets consumers help keep rooms 'private'

In August 2007, John Lee, VP of brand marketing and communications for Embassy Suites Hotels, was looking to increase brand awareness, so he reached out to Emanate PR to help contribute to the new slogan for the chain's humorous "Do Not Disturb" signs, which previously read, "There's a good reason for you NOT to knock right now".

In August 2007, John Lee, VP of brand marketing and communications for Embassy Suites Hotels, was looking to increase brand awareness, so he reached out to Emanate PR to help contribute to the new slogan for the chain's humorous "Do Not Disturb" signs, which previously read, "There's a good reason for you NOT to knock right now". Emanate proposed a contest launch instead, and the campaign took off from there.

Strategy
The PR team focused on Embassy Suites' playful brand reputation to launch a cost effective, yet innovative and engaging campaign. Due to budget constraints, a highly focused pitching effort was a necessity, but the team hoped the contest aspect would increase consumer interest and drive traffic to the Web site.

Tactics
Emanate, along with Embassy's promotional firm CS2, created a simple contest Web site that allowed consumers to learn about the hotels' Do Not Disturb sign and create their own. An exclusive was pitched to a USA Today travel writer, who blogged and wrote an article about the contest, and an AP reporter was pitched as well. To encourage participation, five winning designers would have their Do Not Disturb signs displayed in all Embassy Suites locations, in addition to winning a stay at one of its hotels.

Results

The contest Web site got more than 13,000 hits and around 7,000 contest submissions were received.

"The beauty of it was its simplicity," says Kim Sample, CEO of Emanate PR. "We were looking for a simple, authentic, true-to-the-brand idea, and that's what this was."

Future
Emanate remains Embassy Suites Hotels' AOR for consumer PR. Decisions to hold a similar contest in the future have not been made, but the winning signs will remain in the hotels for the next year.

PR team: Embassy Suites Hotels (Memphis, TN), Emanate PR (NY)

Campaign: Embassy Suites Hotels Do Not Disturb Contest

Duration:
September-December 2007

Budget:
$20,000

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