My latest blog post for Ministers of Design
In last month’s issue of Real Simple magazine (my go-to source for D.I.Ying by household cleaners…kidding not kidding), I chanced upon an ad that grabbed my attention for a lot longer than a second–a true marketer’s dream, indeed. “First the cookie. Then taking on new adventures.” The picture underneath was of a blissfully in love African-American couple, who appeared to be riding a bicycle with a wicker basket in front. Idyllic; check. Perhaps the French country-side…or Portlandia would have been apropos settings.
Innocuous enough, yet I was thoroughly perplexed by this ad. What do cookies have to do with new adventures!? A confusion-causing conflation!
On a practical level, yes, one probably needs to fuel one’s body for new adventures. I, for one, however, would not plan my vacation adventures around the presence or lack thereof of cookies. Clearly, I am in the “I Threw It On The Ground” minority!
The cookie ad was for DoubleTree by Hilton hotels and it has yielded some pretty sweet results for the chain. DoubleTree has been giving a warm chocolate chip cookie to every guest upon check-in since 1986. “At DoubleTree by Hilton, we believe that no matter where you are or what you are doing, cookies have the power to make you smile. It’s the reason we’ve welcomed guests with a warm chocolate chip cookie for more than 25 years,” said John Greenleaf, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton.
The cookies are so popular that one can even order them online. For May 15, the National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (yes, there is such a holiday!), DoubleTree gave a cookie to anyone who visited a hotel, with or without a reservation.
Ketchum has been the PR brains behind this sweet reward-reaping program, generating an ever-evolving campaign that included things like a Cookie Careavan, which traveled country-wide and various impression-yielding hashtags like #cookiecare and “Where in The World is the DoubleTree Cookie?” Facebook campaign. In 2012, there was the “tell-me tree,” where people could tweet the things they most want to get when traveling using the #littlethings hashtag.
What is the confection connection? Why is this campaign so successful?Are cookies really that important to people when traveling!?
“It’s something that seems to transcend all cultures — a chocolate chip cookie,” according to John Greenleaf, the global head of DoubleTree. Consumers look at DoubleTree’s signature cookies as a symbol of the brand’s “care” culture.
No matter how poor or how superb a guest felt about a particular DoubleTree Hotel, s/he often talked about the cookies.
Apparently, this is one small touch that yielded no small crumbs for DoubleTree by Hilton.