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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

W Hotels x GIPHY

Finalist in GIFs


At W Hotels, staying on the pulse of what's New/Next is in our DNA. From being one of the first ever advertisers on Instagram, to one of the first hospitality brands to use Snapchat filters, we saw GIPHY as the next frontier as people started turning to GIFs to express themselves on messaging apps, social media, and beyond.

In 2018, we decided to dive into what this could look like for our brand, creating GIFs, Reaction GIFs, and GIF Stickers for members, guests-- and the internet at large-- to use in their communications, slipping our brand logo, hotels and fonts in wherever we could.

Strategy and Execution

We partnered with a talented illustrator and motion designer—Ju Schnee- to create a "GIF Sticker pack" for our brand, and key initiatives. We created:

- Generic travel/lifestyle Stickers (Door Hanger, W Hotels Logo, Sunglasses, etc.)

- Stickers native to IG Stories functionality (SWIPE UP, NEW POST, etc.)

- Stickers to support key brand programs (Wake Up Call and FUEL)

- Stickers in support of our hotels for guests to use while staying with us

We then partnered with GIPHY Studios to create GIFs to help drive awareness for Wake Up Call-- a W Hotels Music Festival. The GIFs were distributed via GIPHY Search Keywords, Search Categories, and Trending Rotational placement, capitalizing on search terms related to "wake up calls," music and key emotions related to WUC (namely excitement).

Lastly, we decided to take our GIPHY partnership up a notch by having them on-site for Wake Up Call at W Hollywood, offering VIP loyalty members, artists and influencers the opportunity to create GIFs and GIF Stickers of themselves that they could then use on their own social and messaging platforms.

From our organic GIF Sticker strategy, to utilizing GIPHY's paid media products, to providing our guests and VIPS with a once-in-a-lifetime experience (who wouldn't want their own GIF Sticker to use on IG Stories?!), our 2018 venture into GIFs was one for the books.


Our foray into GIFs paid off, driving awareness for W and our key brand initiatives, and helping us maintain our reputation as a first-mover in the social space:

W GIFS have amassed 743.9MM Views to date (with only 105 GIFs on our channel!). Views are across GIPHY and its API partners, including Instagram, Snapchat, FB Messenger, iMessage, etc.

- 716.6MM Organic Views

- 27.3MM Paid (<4%)

For the Paid Media component via GIPHY, W's campaign:

- Drove Awareness for Wake Up Call with 27.3MM Views of WUC-related GIFs

- Drove a 3.5% Engagement Rate on GIPHY Search (vs. 1.89% benchmark)

- Nielsen Brand Lift Study showed lifts across all attributes, including:

- "W Hotels introduces me to what's new and next in fashion, music, & design" - 6pt lift

- "W Hotels is a brand that cares about music as much as I do" - 6pt lift

- "W Hotels provides me with VIP access to events and experiences" - 4pt lift

Lastly, our focus on creating fun, well-designed Stickers that have utility paid off, as W GIF Stickers were organically used widely across IG Stories-- see examples we caught and were able to screenshot below. Our personal favorites:

- Our "SWIPE UP" sticker in our proprietary brand font, W Sans New Bold, which we've caught on (organic, non-paid) IG Stories from @ocasio2018, @arielle, @kcstauffer, @girlwithnojob, @whitneycummings, @thegabbieshow, etc.

- @AliciaKeys used our branded music note GIF the day before she hosted the Grammys—organically integrating W into a key cultural moment in music

Based on the success we saw in 2018, GIFs will continue to be a part of our social strategy for key initiatives and hotel openings moving into 2019.


Video for W Hotels x GIPHY

Entrant Company / Organization Name

W Hotels Worldwide


Entry Credits