World’s Largest Hotel Chain May Be One You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 19, 2012 10:56 AM

You’ve got your Holiday Inns. You’ve got your Ramadas. And for the last seven years, you’ve got your HanTing Inns.

And then some more HanTing  Inns. And still more. The Chinese economy hotel chain has been growing at such a clip it’s a bit like watching the broomsticks in Disney’s Fantasia continue to split and grow, split and grow, until there is an army of the things marching back and forth.

HanTing Inns, thankfully, can’t walk, which is a good thing. If they did, they’d be crushing the Chinese landscape. As it is, a new one opens on average every two days, according to CNN. 

Headquartered in Shanghai, HanTing now has 1,000 properties in China and billionaire founder Ji Qi is expecting to be the owner of the world’s biggest hotel chain by 2020, the site notes. Business is booming but what do you expect when some rooms go for as little as $15 a night.Continue reading...

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London 2012

London 2012 Watch: It's Raining Brands Post-Cool Brittania

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 17, 2012 05:25 PM

With less than two weeks to go before the Summer Games kick off, London Olympics organizers have suddenly discovered that they’ve got a major problem on their hands: Security. And rain. A backlash to the so-called "brand police." And what to do with thousands of tetchy journalists?

Post-Cool Brittania, We Stand on Guard for Thee

After spending years prepping to make the Olympics a shining moment in the city’s history that should help make its brand shine, London is hurting for security help. Nick Buckles, the head of the firm that is providing what security will exist, G4S, admits that the whole thing has been a “humiliating shambles,” according to the Guardian. Even so, London city officials are hoping that somehow they can turn things around quickly in hopes of rescuing the city’s brand.Continue reading...

checking in

Hilton Campaign Shifts From Global to Local and Experiential

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 17, 2012 11:12 AM

"Stay Hilton" + "Go Chill," "Go Refresh," "Go Toast," "Go Foodie" — that's the message from Hilton Hotels & Resorts in the brand's new branding campaign showcasing unique experiences guests can find in the brand’s portfolio of more than 550 hotels in 80 countries.

The campaign highlights the local nuances of each destination (hence "Go NY" on its Facebook cover photo) and the guests who visit and is an evolution of the chain’s global footprint 'Stay Hilton. Go Everywhere.' campaign.

“Rolling out now in the U.S., our latest evolution of the campaign shifts from highlighting our global footprint to a focus on the experiences guests can have in our hotels," stated Andrew Flack, VP, global brand marketing, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. "The campaign illustrates how the Hilton brand connects travelers to the world in amazing and unexpected ways."Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Air New Zealand Once Again Bringing Middle-earth to the Middle Seat

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 16, 2012 02:14 PM

Air New Zealand has always had a good sense of humor and a willingness to try new things. A few years ago, the airline ran an ad featuring naked employees with uniforms painted onto their bodies. Then the airline introduced a sleazy mascot named Rico that it thankfully killed off (but not without grabbing some attention with the death, of course).

The airline with the social media fairy just announced at the San Diego Comic-Con that it has signed a two-film co-branding deal with New Line Cinema and MGM for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, which will have it using Hobbit-branded aircraft, according to Marketing Magazine.

New Zealand, of course, is where the majority of principal photography was done for the film. Fans of Peter Jackson's earlier Lord of the Rings trilogy, which also struck a marketing partnership with Air New Zealand, often fly the airline to get over to New Zealand to see where some of their favorite scenes were put on film.Continue reading...


The Amazing Spider-Man: Spidey Still Loves New York, But He's No King of Queens

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 3, 2012 12:06 PM

As tentpole movies increasingly become vehicles to move items off store shelves, one "product" that has excelled at leveraging onscreen placements is "geography." And when it comes to comic book titles and their real life cities, probably no hero is better at local marketing than Spider-Man.

No surprise then that, with a brandtastic new Spider-Man reboot hitting cinemas today, Sony and Marvel marketers leveraged Peter "Spider-Man" Parker's real life New York City home as part of its amazing marketing campaign, with one mild-mannered exception.Continue reading...


Canada's Biggest Brand Strength: Humour (or Humor), Eh

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 27, 2012 01:19 PM

Everyone knows the funniest Americans were born in Canada, so why not leverage that to bring a few tourism dollars north of the border?

Now playing in New York City: a series of spots featuring Canadian expat actor Eric McCormack, pitching the great white north to Manhattanites and visitors. The "Canada for Fun" tourism and branding campaign, from a consortium of Canadian tourism boards, aims to boost awareness of "why Canada is such a fun place to visit." It just launched in the New York metro market on NBC-owned TV stations; online at and YouTube, where you can watch more of the spots; in taxis (where this expat Canadian caught the campaign); and on digital signage in commuter rail stations such as Penn Station. 

"Humour is an intrinsic part of our culture and is a great way to give Americans who haven't had a chance to visit Canada an inside look at their northern neighbours. We hope they enjoy Eric's take on our myths and realities," noted Greg Klassen, SVP of the Canadian Tourism Commission. Follow along on Twitter: @canadaforfun and #canadaforfun 


As Brave Tops Box Office, Pixar Naming Invites Confusion, Lawsuits

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 25, 2012 11:51 AM

Film: Brave
Brands Spotted: 0 (if you don't count Scotland)
Standout Placement: N/A
Most Memorable Placement (positive): N/A
Most Memorable Placement (negative): N/A
Overall Product Placement Integration Grade (1-10): N/A
Comments: Some critics have called Brave, Disney/Pixar's new film, formulaic. It's an easy conclusion to reach. The idea behind Brave appears to be taking the popularity of young women archers (cue The Hunger Games, and already a Brave-themed attraction at Disney Parks), pinching some themes from other recent popular franchises (How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek), updating the Disney Princess juggernaut, and wrapping the whole thing in the aura of an earlier epic Scottish tale of bravery (Braveheart*). But Brave's guts aren't the only formulaic element of the film.Continue reading...


What Does Central Park Zoo Have Against 'Madagascar'?

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 22, 2012 11:54 AM

Disney Pixar's latest film Brave opens today and promises to clean up at the box office. The film's official partner, Visit Scotland, is hoping audiences will want to "Experience the land that inspired Disney-Pixar’s Brave" (even as the Atlanta Braves have their legal issues with the movie).

Brave's opening means that Madagascar 3, the nation's top film for two weeks running, is about to be forgotten until DVD time. As Madagascar 3 pushes off, and with Brave's Scotland tie-in in mind, we have one nagging question before it goes: why the hit animated franchise failed to make the obvious marketing tie-in with New York's Central Park Zoo? Continue reading...

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