Cannes Lions

Marriott International Black Card Campaign

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Hong kong / MARRIOTT HOTELS / 2019

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Overview

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Overview

Background

On April 17th, 2018, Marriott International announced, as of August, all Marriott, Ritz Carlton and SPG club members will be merged under one cohesive loyalty program, now known as Marriott Bonvoy. The new program has a portfolio of 6,700 hotels across and 101 million members – making it the largest hotel loyalty program in the world.

Equally, Marriott International merged data sets in partnership with the Alibaba 88VIP programs in China. Thus, enabling better travel products and experiences for Marriott Loyalty programs based on Alibaba’s big data.

The challenge is to ensure consumers clearly saw and knew about these benefits and truly wanted to join in.

Idea

We created the ‘Marriott Black card’. The first Black VIP card in the hotel industry tied to the finest loyalty program one can only dream about.

This came to life only when we demonstrated what consumers could do and achieve with this black card.

Black card holders can stay in Marriott International’s top suites, enjoy scenes of New York by helicopter, meet and greet Broadway stars, reach Zen under sakura trees, snorkel in private islands, and even cook dinner with Michelin chefs – to mention a few of the bespoke benefits.

Strategy

67% of outbound tourists are born after 1980s, in which post 80s is the majority and 74 million millennials at Chinese universities are set to graduate in the coming decades.

They will seek to travel overseas in large numbers, given they are well informed and do not consider language barriers to be prohibitive. Similarly, 82% of Tmall consumers are post 80s’ and 90s’ and are attracted to entertainment, travel and technology.

Marriott collaborated with Tmall to create the industry’s first “Marriott International Super Brand Day”, and leverage SBD’s massive exposure and traffic to debut the Black Card. A series of “money-can’t buy” experiences in dinning, accommodation, meeting and events (ie. VIP concert tickets and Cirque Du Soleil tickets) were tailored to reward and recruit members.

Execution

During the campaign, from July 21st to July 29th, we invited an international super model to become the first “Marriott Black Card” cardholder. As a “traveling expert”, she had shared her Marriott Moments with the Black Card, the highlights of her experience as a Marriott member. Meanwhile, other social influencers and press all joined to hype up the card across social media.

What’s more, to complement this innovative product, the “Marriott International Tmall Super Brand Day Black Card Launch” PR event was hosted in the W hotel. A targeted H5 interactive game was shared across Tmall, Union Pay, Flyertea and other major platforms to increase awareness.

Outcome

Once the Black card was issued, netizens were all over it, with nicknames such as “the-wish-come-true-card”, “the-once-in-a-life-time-card”, etc. Within a short amount of time, the news was shared by multiple press, medias, and KOLs, gaining 108 million impressions.

8 cards priced at ¥80K were sold out in 10 seconds.

Finally, with minimal budget, the Black card campaign had earned ¥642K worth of advertising value, ¥1926K PR value, nearly 400K new members, as well as 15.78 million in sales.

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