HEI Hotels & Resorts and Gatehouse Capital

Hollywood, California

Macy + Associates was retained by Gatehouse Capital and HEI Hotels & Resorts, the partners developing the $350 million W Hollywood Hotel & Residences, to craft and implement a strategic advertising and public relations program introducing this landmark property to a global audience during its construction and opening phases.

This high profile development project – featuring hotel, residential, and retail uses – involved the complete transformation of a full city block at the iconic intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Being a complex project, the property was creating both buzz and confusion as to what it would become, presenting several challenges to publicly defining the expectations for W Hollywood; challenges which were addressed by an integrated marketing campaign.

Challenge:

  • Build market awareness and anticipation for the W Hollywood Hotel & Residences two years before opening through its first year of operations.
  • Clearly differentiate the branded residential component of W Hollywood as an opportunity to own a condominium served by all the luxury amenities of the hotel, but as a separate for-sale product different from the hotel operation.
  • Introduce a luxury condominium product into a Hollywood neighborhood seen as entering a renaissance period, but perceived as seedy and unsophisticated in its current state.
  • Secure appropriate recognition for the development partners and their efforts in creating a world-class hotel and residential venue.
  • Ensure major and sustained interest in the property from its opening forward.

Strategy:

The integrated campaign included print and online advertising, outdoor billboards and a national public relations campaign, in addition to branded events that spanned exclusive affairs for 50 to 500, a pre-opening, live broadcasted outdoor concert featuring Depeche Mode for 15,000 on Hollywood Blvd, co-produced with Jimmy Kimmel Live including consulting on stage design and on-air camera angles to maximize W Hollywood exposure, an Agency produced post-concert VIP event on the Capitol Studios lot, and an Agency produced, celebrity-studded grand opening event featuring a performance from Grammy Award winner, Robin Thicke, attended by the Mayor, Supervisor and other celebrities and politicos.

A key recommendation was made to allow the residential component to be identified as “The Residences at W Hollywood” to combat confusion with the hotel and more aptly define the residential component. The agency also implemented the creation of the brand building ‘Visionary Series’ film shorts, allowing the project development and design team to share their vision and inspiration directly through compelling interviews, and a new website with an e-communications campaign that conveyed the singular lifestyle sell of The Residences at W Hollywood.

To define the residential experience at W Hollywood, Macy + Associates paid extensive attention to the ultimate “insider” and “luxury” lifestyle expectations of the property through compelling visuals and eye grabbing taglines. This included the branding and promoting of the ‘WOW Collection,’a full floor of 9 designer model residences, as well as positioning the sustainable and modern design elements of the property to an audience of sophisticated real estate buyers and their broker representatives.

Results:

On opening day, more than 50 members of the media and 300 VIP guests were on hand to witness the hotel’s first day of operations, including a civic dedication ceremony MC’d by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and featuring a live performance by Grammy award winner Robin Thicke. Gatehouse Capital and HEI Hotels & Resorts received the public recognition they were due for the herculean effort in seeing the project to completion, and the W Hollywood Hotel & Residences dominated the airwaves of LA’s broadcast TV spectrum for nearly 48 hours. The world was on notice: W Hollywood Hotel & Residences had arrived.

During its more than three year run, the public relations campaign garnered more than 200 unique media placements with an estimated PR value in excess of $20 million, with high profile articles in elite publications such as the LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Hollywood Reporter, Maxim, Fast Company, LAist, Haute Living, LA Confidential, Angeleno, The Los Angeles Business Journal, Emmy Magazine, Metropolis, Elite Traveler, Robb Report, and many, many others. This was in addition to extensive broadcast coverage throughout the campaign on NBC, CBS, ABC, KTLA, KABC-790 AM and KFWB-980 AM.

The advertising and collateral campaign created a distinct brand and lifestyle sell for the W Hollywood Hotel & Residences, featured through a thoroughly modern and highly energized website tied to a print advertising campaign and a comprehensive suite of e-communication and social marketing tools, all successful in driving attention to the property and sales center visits for The Residences at W Hollywood.

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