Home > blogging for Britain, marketing ramblings > The race to the bottom

The race to the bottom

For the past few years, Premier Inn have been running a series of ads featuring Lenny Henry. You’ve probably seen them. They were nicely shot, distinctive spots centred around Premier Inn’s luxurious and very comfortable beds – although I may not be the only person who found the idea of trying to snatch forty winks in the middle of a crowded St Pancras more than slightly disturbing. Anyway, the campaign was clearly designed to create some separation between Travelodge, very much the Ryanair of the budget hotel sector, and Premier Inn, who clearly fancied themselves as easyJet.

Now I have no idea whether the campaign met its objectives – from its longevity I assume it did – but what has followed is one of the more peculiar strategic u-turns in recent advertising history. One of the latest TV spots is below:

Now I have nothing against scaffolders: some of my best friends are scaffolders. (Well, one of them is.) Don’t call me scaffoldist, ok?

But in the tradespeople pecking order, scaffolders are… let’s just say they’re not very highly regarded.

If advertising is aspirational (it is; it always is), then an attempt to attract more custom by telling the general public that your premises are full of scaffolders jumping up and down in their hotel room before dawn (an amenity that I suspect features well beneath “Do you have a gym?” in any list of guest enquiries) is a peculiar way to go about it. I’m no data geek, but either the itinerant scaffolder market is worth an awful lot more than I thought or Premier Inn are making an audacious bid to supplant Travelodge as the purveyor of soul-destroying accommodation of choice in our suburban hellholes.

You can have that endline for nothing, Premier Inn.

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