Figliulo fetishizes hotel objects in first AC Hotels campaign

Design takes center stage in sleek ads for Marriott's younger-skewing brand

The "A" is an inverted laptop. The "C" is a mid-century lounge chair shot from above. The "H" appears to be the legs of a contemporary wooden stool. A cup of espresso, a bookshelf, a croissant — is that a T-shaped pile of prosciutto?

The first campaign for AC Hotels, the design-centric brand imported to the US by Marriott in 2013, spells the name of the hotel using everyday hotel objects. Eleven 15-second films, which are running online and on TV (mostly in airports and on airplanes), consist of nothing but cleverly positioned objects and some zippy music, followed by the hotel’s stark grey-and-white logo and tag line, "The New Modern."

It may not sound like much, and that is precisely the point, said Mark Figliulo, Founder and Partner of Figliulo & Partners, the agency behind the campaign.

"They took what a hotel should be and refocused it around details," he said of the AC brand. "They got rid of stuff that wasn’t necessary, like room service, and refocused on other things, like a different way of serving tapas in the lobby."

"We wanted to do the same thing with the communications," he said.

Brought to the US from Europe in 2013, AC Hotels is Marriott’s attempt to grab more of the young business traveler market, a demographic that puts more emphasis on esthetics and experience than traditional hotel amenities. The name is still relatively unknown in the US, which is why F&P wanted it to be front and center in the advertising. "It is a new name in the US, so we wanted to highlight what we call ourselves, and wanted to do that with design."

The ads will also appear around the Web in gif form, "because it works really well with repetition," said Figliulo. An "experiential version" of the ads are in the works as well.

F&P, which is based in New York, won the global AC Hotels global creative account in January. The work now debuting is what the agency pitched to win the business, Figliulo said.

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