VSA’s new campaign for Hyatt shows the power of detail

“Planners wear many different hats, and are masters of multitasking. They want a partner who they can depend on to get all the details right, who understands the need for precision.”

That’s how Keith Karem, Director of Business Marketing for Hyatt Hotels Corporation described the inspiration behind Hyatt Meetings and Events’ new campaign, launched this month and encompassing print, digital, social media, sales collateral and email marketing efforts. With the goal of driving group business to Hyatt hotels and resorts, it’s aimed at an audience of meeting and event planners. Recent Hyatt research indicated a shift in the nature of planning events—an increase in the volume of meetings and a decrease in lead times for planning them. With the meetings industry rebounding from economic downturn, Hyatt tasked VSA Partners to develop a campaign that would break through the clutter and strengthen their presence in a highly competitive market with a strategic media spend.

Hyatt needed a cohesive message to hold firm across their nine distinct brands and demonstrate their best-in-service offerings: a reputation for a personalized approach to planning, industry-leading tools, exceptional food and beverage and a stronger network of meetings that drives a more consistent experience across properties. These characteristics are attractive for planners that work for corporations, associations or organizations because they plan numerous meetings each year, which can pay off in longer-term engagement with Hyatt across multiple properties and meeting types.

The strategy culminated in the key message, “A million details. One unforgettable experience,” derived from the insights gleaned in putting together a successful event: it’s about the “millions” of details and the people who manage all of them to create a seamless, remarkable experience. The statement shares in the understanding, finesse and expertise planners need—and one on which Hyatt can uniquely deliver when partnering with planners.

The VSA team developed a visual approach for a distinctive campaign that drove the message and strategy to new heights. Uncovering the possibilities behind the line, especially the spectacle and power of a “knolled” tableau and the growing popularity of cult sites like Things Organized Neatly, Creative Director Dave Harbarger and Associate Creative Director Britta Hernalsteen decided to show the individual pieces of an event. All of them.

“We started with a couple of tabletop-sized versions, but we wanted to go big,” said Harbarger. “Planners have to think about the appetizers all the way up to chairs and projectors—including timing, flow, acoustics, technology, food and beverage, sound, room temperature, lighting and meeting supplies. Above all, the concept shows the understanding that Hyatt has for planners and prospects; unlike many competitors, it doesn’t highlight a beautiful space or focus on the people they’d work directly with.”

The life-sized nature of the tableaus turned into a significant technical challenge, not just for photographer Mark Wiens (who stayed in a crane basket for hours at a time while assistants carefully arranged items) but for the stylists who tracked down the raw materials, some of which were actually raw: “There’s a bunch of different vegetables in there, from romanesco to tomatoes to lemons, not to mention charcuterie plates, bottles of water, lanyards, full table settings, hotel key cards and so much more,” reported Hernalsteen, who noted the extreme attention to detail over the three-day shoot, some of which can be seen in behind-the-scenes photos shown above. “Because it was all done in camera, we were going on set repeatedly with rulers to make sure everything was aligned and evenly spaced. As a result, it all feels real and turns out to be a better product than if we had done it digitally.”

“VSA received this assignment through our relationship development and our level of attentiveness,” said Partner Jeff Walker, referring to earlier projects to develop a sophisticated tablet-based sales enablement platform for Hyatt executives and the Hyatt Development Group. The platform broadened the brand experience and displayed the nine brands to prospective investors, developers and owners. “For this campaign, Hyatt sought a strong B2B marketing partner and had been impressed with our quality of work and deep knowledge of their brands. Our team has immersed themselves in the Hyatt brand and the business has paid out in a strong working relationship and first-rate work on target with their goals. The campaign is fresh and distinctive and completely new for them.”

Hyatt’s Sarah Sullivan, Senior Manager, Business Marketing added, “We have a great partnership with VSA; they understand our goals and objectives with this campaign and beyond. We wanted to stay away from your typical empty ballroom shots and close-ups of people’s faces—they delivered a compelling concept that truly disrupts and showcases what differentiates the Hyatt meeting experience. It really is all in the details.”