Four Seasons brushes off old luxury tropes as part of brand relaunch

    • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is enacting a brand refresh with its largest paid media effort to date, per an announcement. Creative showcases new branding that is rolling out across the company’s portfolio.    
    • An ad campaign, titled “Luxury Is Our Love Language,” centers around artful interpretations of real guest experiences. Publicis’ Le Truc agency sourced the “based on a true stay” ideas from a combination of feedback surveys, comments and interviews with hotel teams.   
    • Media strategy led by Starcom focuses on digital video, social and digital out-of-home and includes a special collaboration with Vogue around New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Four Seasons making a bigger brand equity push points to the strong travel rebound, and also how hospitality marketers could be feeling pressure to innovate as the category recovers.  

    Four Seasons is a name synonymous with the high-end, but the marketer wants to play up the human element of its business through the refresh. The multi-million dollar campaign is not only Four Seasons’ largest in terms of media spend to date, but also the first time the company has ever put a significant amount of paid media behind brand equity messaging. 

    The go-big mentality speaks to a few trends in hospitality. The category is trying to recapture the interest of consumers who are eager to get out into the world amid the pandemic reopening, with many taking advantage of a comparatively strong U.S. dollar abroad. Travel marketers expect to spend 27% more on media in the year’s second half than they initially anticipated, according to a recent survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a jump that could help offset declines in other sectors like automotive. 

    But the resurgence in media activity means hospitality is again getting competitive after a quiet period. Hilton and IHG Hotel & Resorts have also recently introduced some of their splashiest, most expensive campaigns in years. Meanwhile, traditional players continue to contend with the disruptions caused by home-sharing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo that are popular with young travelers in the millennial and Gen Z set. 

    Four Seasons is attempting to distinguish its luxury positioning by bringing to life the unique stories of guests who’ve stayed at its various hotels and resorts, with an emphasis on personalized stays. In one ad, a dapper visitor to The Surf Club location in Miami, FL, is recognized by staff for wearing clothing monogrammed with “El Tigre.” They then treat to him custom perks bearing the same name, like an El Tigre bathrobe set. 

    The idea is to draw out a more empathetic angle than what’s typically seen in luxury marketing without sacrificing the premium flair. Balancing that out required a research-intensive approach, brand representatives said.

    “Le Truc used data and insights from guest stays to spotlight acts of unparalleled hospitality in action, and the ‘Based on a True Stay’ spots represent a refreshingly creative portrayal of our renowned brand of luxury with genuine heart,” said Marc Speichert, chief commercial officer at Four Seasons, in a press statement. 

    Other elements of the campaign include a tie-up with Conde Nast around Vogue’s first Vogue World Fashion Experience at NYFW. Along with Le Truc and Starcom, Publicis Canada and Hawkeye Canada, Four Seasons’ customer relationship management agency of record, provided an assist on “Luxury Is Our Love Language.” 


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