STORY director Blair Hayes encourages weekend travelers to “connect,” “stroll,” “smile,” “cheer” and “celebrate” in an upbeat new campaign for Hilton Garden Inn and California agency DGWB.

The 15- and 30-second television spots portray the upscale hotels as a great venue for people seeking to getaway, take in the local sites and have fun. Couples and friends are shown relaxing, dining, shopping, sharing a glass of wine and partying in a club. Superimposed graphics underscore the mood. “We staged scenes ranging from sorority sisters enjoying their 15th reunion to a middle aged couple on a romantic weekend,” says Hayes. “It’s experiential, a slightly heightened reality.”

The follow-ups to an earlier flight of ads highlighting the amenities Hilton Garden Inn offers to business travelers, the new spots promote the chain as a destination for adults seeking a weekend getaway. “Hilton Garden Inns are located in places that offer a lot of things that adults enjoy,” explains DGWB executive creative director Jon Gothold. “And Blair captured that in a really nice way. It’s believable. We have people going on shopping trips and out to dinner; young women getting together. It resonates. It feels authentic. And it’s working! Weekend business at the hotels is up.”

Hayes shot the campaign in and around a Hilton Garden Inn in Del Mar, California. Gothold says that the director’s careful preparation allowed him to shoot the boards—and a lot more—so much so that the originally planned 15-second spots were extended to 30-second versions. “He promised to over-shoot the board and he did it without running overtime,” Gothold recalls. “He’d sometimes pick up a camera himself and grab shots. He’s a very hands-on guy.”

A highlight of the production was a concert scene shot at a local club with a live band. The improvised scene had a party atmosphere. “We used all of our extras and everyone was dancing and grooving,” Gothold says.

Hayes says that there were a lot of natural shooting locations at the Hilton Garden Inn and its environs, and that made for a very efficient production. “We had a lot of fun shooting in San Diego County,” he observes. “I was impressed with the hotel and its employees…and the food was delicious.”

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