Almost any baseball fan reading this right now can probably say that they watched most of, or at least part of this past Tuesday’s annual All-Star Game. I’m not going to get into the details of the game because I am a Mets fan and thus was not too thrilled with the outcome, but then again, not surprised. Speaking of being surprised, it wasn’t too far into the game that I became accustomed to seeing something else. No, it wasn’t seeing another misplaced throw from David Wright to the first baseman, it was seeing a Holiday Inn commercial at every commercial break! A few weeks back I had noticed that the Holiday Inn logo had changed from the old familiar script font. I wont say that this move was long overdue, but the new branding definitely gives the idea and perception that the Holiday Inn is a fresh, bright, even classy place to stay. Of course we all know that the Holiday Inn is not a 5-star resort, but a more modern logo definitely sheds the idea that the linens and wallpaper in each room is as old as the prior logo. Not only has there been a trend of new or updated branding recently, but this was not merely following a trend, it is a very effective marketing strategy because new branding in this case will very likely equate to a new inviting perception.
When watching this commercial over and over again, I thought about how I knew of the brand change, but didn’t remember exactly where I had seen the new logo. I just knew that it wasn’t in the form of traditional advertising, like said commercials, which got me to thinking that it was probably a promotional product! So I tried to think of the specific one, and when cycling through the usual suspects, I came to the conclusion that it was not a custom tote bag, and I didn’t see it on any promotional drinkware, finally leading me to the conclusion that I had seen it on a promotional pen. Imprinted Drinkware, Custom foil-wrapped chocolates, promotional notepads and promotional pens are staples in hotel promotional products. We see them every time we check into a room, but my experience with the new Holiday Inn logo just goes to show you how powerful promotional pens can be. I have not stayed in a Holiday Inn recently, nor do I know anyone who has. But the fact that I used an imprinted pen with the new branding on it, to sign for a credit card purchase at the Home Depot, means that someone took the pen from a room and it somehow got passed around until it reached a checkout counter in a random store. Exposure is one of the most important things that one should think about when running a promotion. Even if you are not a hotel, the custom printed pen has the potential to get the same mileage out of a pen from a hotel because it is a commonly used and shared item that often gets passed around unintentionally. For this reason, it might also be a good idea to consider a promotional bic lighter for your next promotion. It may very well be the single most commonly exchanged item that there is other than money.
But back to the point: I had originally thought that the new Holiday Inn branding campaign hadn’t had much effort or investment put into it, but after Tuesday it is pretty clear that they were just waiting for the timing to be right. Unless I have simply not seen any other typical advertising for the new branding, it appears that many of the Holiday Inn eggs have been put into the Major League Baseball basket at least for now. The commercial even revolves around baseball as the hotel room attendants are dressed as grounds crew members and make up the room in a similar fashion that you see a grounds crew tending to the field.