CHICAGO—In a new spot of Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), STORY
Director Jeff France explores one of the most vexing problems of modern business
travel: what to bring home for the kids. Conceived by Seattle agency Possible,
the ad promotes IHG’s Travel Rewards program.
Waiting for their mom to return from a business trip, two girls
speculate about the goodies she’s bringing. “Act excited,” heaves one. The
reason for their lack of enthusiasm rests on a nearby table:  a collection of corny knickknacks. These
remnants of past trips express their own curiosity over the new arrival.
“What’s it going to be this time?” chirps a ceramic T-Rex.

When mom arrives, she first proves the girls right by
pulling a kitschy unicorn from her bag, but then surprises them by announcing
that on the next trip, they’ll be going along—courtesy of IHG’s Travel Rewards.
“We’ll be 100 feet from the beach!”
“It’s a situation familiar to every parent who travels for
business,” says France, who is known for directing comedy with a human touch.
“In your rush to get home, you realize you have gotten anything for the kids and
you find yourself staring at lame products in an airport newsstand.”
France added to the realism through careful casting and
understated direction. The couple featured in the ad is bi-racial, but the
director insists that was mostly a matter of chance. “We picked actors whom we
liked regardless of ethnicity,” he says. “It worked out really well in terms of
portraying the changing American family.”
France also had a lot of fun in casting and directing the
collection of talking knickknacks. “We cast a group of actors with strong improvisational
skills,” he says. “We recorded them sitting around a table. It was a wonderful,
free-spirited exchange with the actors, agency creatives and me chipping in
ideas. It was like being at a comedy club.”
The whole production had a loose, improvisatory feel, France
adds. “We worked as one creative unit from casting through the shoot,” he says.
“We had great chemistry and kept evolving and improving the idea.”
represented on the East Coast by SuperPowers (646) 633-4578; in the Midwest by Melissa
Thornley (312) 752-5369, in the Southeast by Miller + Associates, (954)
563-6004; in the Southwest by Gossip!, (214) 288-2813 and on the West Coast by Yvette
Lubinsky, (310) 827-2626.
For more information, visit
Title: New Neighbor
Client:  IHG
Agency:  Possible, Seattle. Chelsea
Sweetin, Agency Producer; Rob Mapes, Account Director; Aylin Koker, Project
Manager; Jon Dietrich, Creative Director; Adam Strom, Associate Creative
Director; Jennifer Yeend Senior, Copywriter.
Production: Story. Jeff France Director; Merilee
Newman, Producer; Mark Androw and Cliff Grant, Executive Producers.
Editorial:  KVL Editorial. Kelly Vander Linda,
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