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Magical ad campaign: Transforming transportation hubs into places of renewal

In our busy metro lives, we hardly find time for relaxation…always rushing for one thing or the other. Imagine, if we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of serene greens or tranquil waterfalls or say deep sea… no it’s not a dream, but the reality that commuters all through United States recently felt. Westin’s $30mm experiential campaign uses non-traditional methods to bring a feeling of renewal to commuters in major transit hubs.
Recently, Westin Hotels & Resorts has transformed some of the United States’ most hectic transportation hubs into “places of renewal.” Westin’s $30 million campaign uses experiential mediums, including 3-D and Bluetooth billboards, image-shifting lenticulars and submedia (ads that appear to move on the train tunnel walls, much like a giant flip book), that bring to life the brand’s ongoing concept of personal renewal. Rolling out in major cities, including Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco, the campaign reaches New York City when every possible medium touch point in Grand Central Station is carefully choreographed brand immersion experience. One of many executions includes the interiors of three Grand Central/ Times Square shuttle trains completely wrapped with 360-degree imagery of a lush rain forest, tropical scuba dive or a soothing sauna leading to an icy lakeshore.

The new out-of-home executions, created by Deutsch New York and implemented by MediaVest, are an evolution of Westin’s groundbreaking “This is How it Should Feel” marketing and engagement effort. The 2007 ad buy includes print, radio, online, and multiplatform elements.

“The use of non-traditional media marks an exciting new direction for Westin. What better way to convey the Westin Renewal experience than to literally surround consumers with positive experiential messages in subways and airports and on highways, where they are most stressed and yearning for an escape? This message is particularly resonant with business travellers, who can appreciate the juxtaposition between the most stressful moments of the day and the most renewing,” said Sue Brush, senior vice president, Westin Hotels & Resort.

Deliberately devoid of room shots, fluffy beds, sunsets and other typical hotel amenities, this campaign turned traditional hotel advertising on its head. The ads instead conveys what guests would feel at a Westin-a rejuvenating, personal experience, free from the stresses of travel and everyday life.

The campaign’s clever use of imagery and “environmental messaging” literally and figuratively turns everyday negatives into positives, transforming the mundane commute into an unexpected oasis. A busy escalator, for example, is transformed into a rushing tropical waterfall, while airport signage creates a mental link between negatives like the frustration of delays and positives like the exhilaration of surfers lined up waiting for the perfect wave. In New York, an interactive Bluetooth billboard invites passersby to download a soothing, original Westin ringtone because “renewal is calling.” The billboard was created, thanks to the overwhelming number of people who inquired about the song featured in last year’s 15-second TV spots. In response, Westin went back to the studio to record the full track. The campaign’s large-scale use of 360-degree media and environmental messaging is a breakthrough for the hotel industry, integrating an impressive range of non-traditional mediums to engage consumers at multiple touch points.

Spread out over five markets, with more than 270 different visuals and 2,754 media placements, the campaign includes sub-media – using the motion of the trains, images lining the tunnel walls act like a giant flipbook; lenticulars – these unique pieces of media are a perfect fit for providing a transformative experience to commuters; column wraps – landscape photos will be spread across several columns throughout Grand Central Station, New York; airport – environmental messaging and contextual ads speaking directly to travellers to help them relax, pause and de-stress; larger-thanlife billboards – Westin is also relensing billboards, with unique three-dimensional billboards spread out over five major US cities; and in-train signage – commuters no longer associate “delays” with waiting for a train. Instead, as the image suggests, Westin will evoke the feeling of floating on a surfboard, waiting for the perfect wave to roll in.


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