Sunday, 16 August, 2009 12:34 PM
Red Roof Inn Connects with Country
of Rink Entertainment
collateral for Red Roof Loves Country.
courtesy of Rink Entertainment
Vassar surprises fans Tim and Janice Gustafson with private
concert at Red Roof Inn.
2009 CMA Close Up News Service
Several years ago, seeking
a better insight into their customer base, Red Roof Inn assigned
its public relations and marketing partner, Florida-based Hill &
Knowlton/SAMCOR, to look into the subject.
The results of the investigation
were clear. "The Red Roof Inn customer is 'gray-collar,' not
quite white- or blue-collar," said Jim Rink, President, Rink
Entertainment. "They don't need to spend a lot of money. They
don't care about frills. And their passion lifestyle experience
is dead on target with two areas: NASCAR and Country Music."
This was the picture
the company gave to Rink along with an assignment to create a media
campaign based on that commitment to Country. As producer of GAC's
"GAC Short Cuts Series," which helped catapult Taylor
Swift at 15 into the spotlight, he knew the strength of the artist/fan
bond. This became the basis of a series of Webisodes created by
Rink Entertainment, with a goal of tapping into and extending that
bond to the economy hotel chain.
Because Country fans
were already responsive to that brand, the campaign grew from a
solid foundation. Rink reasoned that multiple artists from various
record labels should serve as brand ambassadors. Not only did Phil
Vassar, Whitney Duncan and Little Big Town fit that bill, but GAC
also engaged KingBilly, whose experiences as a fast-rising band
were chronicled by the network's reality series "Who Is KingBilly."
Several themes wove through
these Webisodes, posted at www.RedRoofLovesCountry.com within the
www.GACtv.com Web site and aired on GAC. These involved real-life
fans, whose stories reflect some element of the artist's latest
work or views of life. For example, Vassar's dedication to the military
tied into an anniversary trip for a soldier and his wife to Nashville,
where he surprised them with a private concert in the Red Roof Inn
lobby as they emerged from their room.
Webisodes, photo galleries,
promotions and contests as well as TV commercials and print ads
are all part of the Red Roof Loves Country Road Trips campaign,
which awards thousands of prizes.
"All of us look
for new ways to get our artists in front of people," said Greg
Hill, President, GHM/Red Light Management. "I'd already been
talking with several hotels about doing partnerships, but Red Roof
was actually willing to print up cards with information about Phil
and place them on pillows for everybody who checked in - and that's
tens of thousands of people each week."
The benefits come back
to Red Roof too, as they post links to the hotels nearest to stops
on each artist's tour just below the Webisode screen. "We measure
the campaign's impact in multiple ways," said Marina MacDonald,
VP, Sales and Marketing, Red Roof Inn. "We know how many unique
visitors we're getting. There's click-through to book rooms. At
the end of the day, we look at whether distribution is going up
on www.RedRoof.com. And it is."
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