Marriott tests new pod format around Oscars to drive interest in Bonvoy
- Marriott will promote its new Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, which replaces the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs, through an extensive new campaign that launches around the Oscars this weekend, according to company news shared with Marketing Dive.
- The first TV spots will premiere during the awards broadcast on ABC on Feb. 24 in a 60-second commercial pod. The commercials were directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet, known for French film "Amelie," and depict different hotel vignettes using the word "Bonvoy." The campaign, which carries the tagline "Rewards Reimagined," also includes digital video, mobile, print, social media, out-of-home and cinema integrations.
- As part of the broader campaign, Marriott has also partnered with the Premier League soccer team Manchester United, with Marriott Bonvoy branding appearing on ground-level "digiboards" in the team's stadium that will be visible during televised games. Bonvoy members can also bid their points on Manchester United experiences, such as shadowing the stadium announcer and helping with pre-game preparations.
Marriott unveiled Bonvoy in January as a streamlined revamp of its rewards offerings, one that merges the programs of its Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood hotel chains. The announcement followed a massive 2018 cyberattack on the Starwood Hotels reservation system, which led to more than 380 million customer records being stolen.
By rolling out a new campaign around the closely-watched Oscars broadcast, Marriott could drive greater awareness and consumer interest in Bonvoy. According to Ad Age, the Bonvoy branding has caused some confusion among consumers, and the new push could additionally bring greater clarity to the service and what it has to offer.
Marriott could also stand out during the Oscars by investing in a relatively new TV ad format, the commercial pod. The hotel brand will have its own commercial break during the telecast, running a 30-second promo before the 60-second commercial pod. The ad offering is part of ABC's efforts to more seamlessly incorporate advertisers into the actual Oscars programming, Variety reported. The news marks the first time the "pod" format has been used during the Oscars
The Oscars remain a major draw for advertisers, despite last year's falling ratings and the decision to go without a host this year. Marketers appear undeterred, since ABC has sold out of its ad inventory. Thirty second ads reportedly went for up to $2.6 million, down from last year's rate of $2.8 million, Adweek said.
Marriott also likely sees its partnership with Manchester United as a way to expand its global footprint and reach a diverse audience of soccer fans. Manchester United is considered the most valuable and popular team in the world, and the club's games have been some of the most-watched.
Along with the Manchester United pairing, Marriott also plans to unveil experiential events for loyalty members around the NCAA, FIA Formula One World Champions, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Dubai Jazz Festival and World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship.