As Hilton revitalized their brand, they wanted to impress upon business travelers and a new, younger audience, that their hotel stay was much more than that. It was no longer about simply getting from point A to point B; it was a journey, an enjoyable experience that was meant to enhance the trip. Rather than drive reservations, the campaign’s goal was to evoke emotional connections between the brand and travelers in ways that built awareness and consumer loyalty. The biggest challenge that BLITZ faced was the ability to seamlessly integrate the traditional campaign look and feel into the interactive space that would allow for dynamic animations to be created. To deliver the concept of “journey”, Y&R created illustrations that utilized “hand-drawn” lines—which naturally led to the requirement to use this style for all interactive iterations and animations.
Utilizing the stylized keyart and a simple color palette, BLITZ created a surreal destination that allowed visitors to “take a break” from their busy day. Through mouse-gesture recognition, users were able to bring the site and story to life within three specific vignettes built around the Hilton Journeys experience: entertain, pamper and empower. To further enhance visitor participation, BLITZ integrated a gesture recognition engine allowing the user to use a virtual pen to draw shapes recognized by the computer, which then triggered traditionally drawn animation sequences. The engine was especially useful with the viral element, which gave users the chance to customize an animated Hilton Journeys card that could be sent to a friend via email.
The Hilton Journeys experience turned out to be a great success, drawing an average 15-minute stay time, with nearly every user participating with each part of the journey-based experience. BLITZ was able to use their technical prowess to make the site perform well (in regards to quick loading and smart UI design), but also used their creative muscle to translate the campaign’s look and feel into the online space in ways that added relevance and stickiness. The campaign not only changed the perceptions of business travelers, but also recruited a younger audience as well as recreational travelers.
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