BETHESDA, MD—At AC Hotels by Marriott, it’s all about the details, and the entrepreneurial lifestyle brand from Marriott International Inc., based here, used that premise as the focus of its new video campaign, “Unpacked.” Three subjects—the architecture of the AC New York Times Square; the brand’s new scent identity; and the prosciutto slicer found in every AC Kitchen—were used to define key moments in the hotel experience: the math, the chemistry and the mechanics. Interview segments with each of the men behind those elements round out the campaign.
“Travelers who stay at AC hotels are busy, entrepreneurial spirits, and getting into their hotel room is often the only moment they have a chance to sit back and have a moment of reflection,” said Benoit Racle, senior global brand director, AC Hotels. “The ‘Unpacked’ campaign was created to provide inspiration and offer authentic, engaging content for AC Hotels’ guests to pause and appreciate the present moment.”
The video campaign builds on a social and editorial campaign originally developed in 2015 by AC Hotels and Netherlands-based digital agency LikeFriends, according to the brand. “The social and editorial campaign showed the glimmer of a cool idea, and we thought it was worth expanding to focus on telling stories around the highly interesting, considered details that are so core to the AC Hotels experience,” said Racle.
Creative agency Fred & Farid New York (FF New York) concepted the three hero videos and the interview segments. Colin Nagy, the firm’s head of strategy, pointed out that the original campaign “highlighted travelers’ thoughts and reasons for staying with AC,” adding, “We gave the ‘Unpacked’ platform new meaning by exploring the thoughts of the people who actually created the AC Hotels experience, like the architect David Helpern, who created the new AC Hotel New York Times Square.”
Helpern, along with Frederick Bouchardy, the founder of New York-based fragrance studio and design collective Joya, and Alberto Gonzalez, VP of sales and marketing for European culinary equipment manufacturer Berkel, sat down for interviews describing their respective subjects. “All three were thought leaders central to creating a beautiful and impactful element of the AC Hotels experience,” said Racle. All three hero videos use some of the narration from the interviews.
Helpern sat down with the FF New York team and described how the architecture of the AC Hotel New York Times Square influences all of the senses, from the quiet of the space to the beauty of the furniture and artwork. The hero video, titled “Architecture,” uses striking and colorful images of blueprints; close up details of furniture; and artwork, among other elements.
Bouchardy describes the inspiration and ingredients of the signature scent, while the hero video “Between the Woods” features images of candles, trees and fruit, among others.
Gonzalez discusses what guests feel like when they see the prosciutto slicer, as well as how it’s made. The hero video “The Machine” shows off the dynamic red color of the slicer as well as its movements.
“It was great to shoot all the detailed scenes and get a deeper understanding of how much work goes into the details of the architecture, the scented candle and the meat slicer,” said Nagy, whose company has worked with two other Marriott brands, Element and Aloft. “It was also remarkable to see just how passionate all three of our featured creators were. Since they shared so many great insights, it was tough to cut their answers down into 60-second interviews because they were so thoughtful.”
A visually appealing aspect of the hero videos was the use of split-screen to project still and moving images. “The split-screen technique was chosen as a creative way to simultaneously highlight the details and their effect on the guest,” said Nagy. “As the viewer sees super-macro shots, for example, the guest gets a view of the bigger picture. It’s a technique that creates a unique, impactful visual language.”
Racle noted that the videos will live primarily on paid and earned social media, adding, “AC Hotels also markets directly to entrepreneurial, design-savvy business travelers through its blog, as well as podcast advertising with Gimlet Media.”
The “Unpacked” campaign will feature more videos in the future, highlighting other details guests can see, smell and taste when staying at an AC hotel, noted Racle.
“We are enthusiastic to continue shaping the AC brand with campaigns that highlight its attention to detail and the experience it creates for its guests,” he said. “We’re currently exploring how the brand designed a signature gin-and-tonic glass from scratch in order to give drinkers the best possible aromatic experience. We feel this is fertile territory to tell a really beautiful visual story about the effort and the work that went into crafting a new product.”
And FF New York will continue to be the creative force behind the campaign. “We’re continuing to tell interesting stories from the AC ecosystem, and will experiment with new storytelling techniques,” said Nagy. HB