Elephant, Residence Inn

Giraffe, Residence Inn

Call me champion of the unappreciated or call me a chump but I genuinely enjoy praising advertising that is usually overlooked, often unfairly.

This new campaign for Residence Inn by mcgarrybowen (the agency the hipsters love to hate) is a perfect example. Both agency and client represent a brand of thinking that bucks trends and invites criticism. So be it. But this new advertising has a lot going for it…

First and foremost, we have a beauty of a tagline: It’s not a room. It’s a Residence. Genius. Not only does it take the ubiquitous hotel-word “room” and deposition it as a compromise but the line also makes the brand name a hero while working its double meaning. It shares many of the same qualities as my all-time favorite strap line: “Nothing runs like a Deere” for John Deere.

Then there’s the wonderfully old school “demo” featuring animals known for their bigness (a giraffe, an elephant) freely gallivanting about their “residences” with plenty of room to spare. As far as I can tell these demonstrations are totally legit, in other words no CGI or modified stage sets. Just big animals in big, beautiful hotel rooms… I mean residences. And I have to admit these residences do look pretty nice.

I’ve never been a fan of “animal commercials.” They ‘re typically too cheesy, predictable or even creepy. FYI: I never liked stupid pet tricks. It’s my opinion these spots work because the animals serve a ‘bigger’ concept and are not just there for laughs. One could argue animals and hotel rooms don’t mix and I don’t dispute this might be a turnoff for some. But I doubt it.

Finally, the film is pretty and the writing is surprisingly witty. What can I say: it ain’t bad.

Loving embrace or key frame?

I did not get up to watch the Royal Wedding. I did not watch it on tape delay either. I did not record it. I did not even read any stories leading up to it. In fact, I gave it about as much thought as a soccer match in Paraguay.

But, judging from the hubbub it appears I am in the gross minority. Granted, I live in a house of women: a wife and three little girls. They’re fascination with this “event” was off the charts. Weddings in general seem to enthrall them, as they are also huge fans of The Bachelor.

But I digress. The Royal Wedding (and I am capitalizing it under protest) was a global phenomenon. This I cannot deny. But for the weeks leading up to it I kept on asking myself: Why? Oh, I knew the answers (Royalty! Pageantry! Romance!), I just wasn’t comfortable accepting them.

I’m a man. And I’m a cynical man. I struggle with weddings. One of the few joys of turning 40 was the precipitous drop in wedding invitations. No more wasted summer Saturdays (and sometimes Fridays) devoted to these dressy, formal and interminable celebrations. No more donning a suit at 11 AM and not being able to take it off until midnight. No more disco dancing with inebriated yuppies in stuffy country clubs. No more choosing between bland codfish or overcooked filet. I was free at last!

I’m also an American. Despite our country’s corrupt and/or ridiculous politics I still find the monarchy an upsetting and archaic concept. I don’t care what anyone says, being born into rule is just plain wrong.

So, for me the Royal Wedding was, at best, a silly distraction and at worst, insufferable.

Until, that is, I was able to find an angle that made sense. The Royal Wedding was an anthem commercial for Great Britain! With that in mind, I could finally understand its appeal. The costumes. The props. The protagonists. All of it worked better, in my mind, as an anthem. We have the Superbowl. They have that.

Now that’s branding!

I received this epiphany after coming across a Tweet from one of my followers in London. He said, “Today I feel proud to be an Englishman!” And that’s when it hit me. The nuptials of this comely couple served as an anthem for a country, world and species in dire need of cheering up. On that front, this one-off commercial hit it out of the park.

Of course, it all comes crashing down when the Prince gets caught boinking a chambermaid. Then, it’s back to the scandal and everyday nastiness that we’re all accustomed to. Not to worry, however. A regal and global funeral for the Queen Mother will bring us all back.

Special note: Writing for Adweek,, Christopher Silvestor claimed the Royal Wedding was a bust across the pond. Go figure.


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