Ritz-Carlton Uses Movie Magic to Advertise Its Suites
How many famous movie scenes take place in a hotel? That was what I asked myself when watching Ritz-Carlton’s recent campaign The Stay. My conclusion: a lot. So much so, I started wondering why hotels didn’t advertise this fact more. Who wouldn’t want a movie-hotel experience like Ghostbusters? Okay, that might be far-fetched, I’ll give you that, but it doesn’t mean the general idea is bad. Case in point: Ritz-Carlton.
The Stay was a five-part series from Ritz Carlton in partnership with Hearst Magazines. It explored the possibilities offered by a stay at The Ritz through five short films. The promotion had promising writers and directors submit screenplays setting the scene for “what happens next” after entering a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Debuting with the short film The Note, the fourth film in the series was Stranger’s Reunion. It was a tale of what happens when Mira, a successful fashion executive, visits Hong Kong to meet her birth mother for the first time.
Here’s where the ad delivered five-star service…
1. Screenplay – Nominated for Brand Film Festival: London 2019 Award for Best Screenplay, Liz Sargent’s script was great. The dialogue was sparse but meaningful, built within the framework of an adult daughter meeting her mother for the first time. The sentences were short, but powerful. And while the story was not new, it did not fall into Hallmark Channel tropes. It was real and effective. Furthermore, there was a nice twist (hint: translation), that added an extra layer of emotion and character development that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. If Sargent keeps this up, she’ll be nominated for bigger awards.
2. Acting – The film benefited from the two leads. Sue Jean Kim as Mira, the daughter, and Michelle Okkyung Lee as the mother delivered tense, restrained performances that relied as much on expressions and stares as they did dialogue. This film could have been silent and the emotion would still have been effectively delivered by the two, especially Lee. So muted, so controlled that the one moment she cracked—albeit for a quiet second—she overtook the film.
3. Mirrors – Whenever a film uses camera tricks that involve mirrors (Zemeckis is a great example), I—am—in! Photographed by Sam Goldie, there were instances where mirrors tricked, yet trained the eye and captured beautiful moments.
This is where the ad overstayed its welcome…
1. Color – As much as I liked the use of mirrors and framing, the overall color scheme was “ehh.” It was a cold look that had volumes of subtext, but muted grays and blues are overused today. I think more color could have been used effectively.
Ritz-Carlton’s The Stay campaign was an interesting advertising scheme. I can’t say if it will work or not for the brand. I think a Ghostbusters’ short would do the trick. Still, it was the perfect platform for emerging talent, such as Ms. Sargent and her film Stranger’s Reunion. For that fact alone, there’s reason to celebrate the campaign.