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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Grand Introduction

Winner in Hospitality

Audience Honor in Hospitality

Entered in Insights & Trends


The world was turned upside down in 2020, and economy lodging was no different. While essential workers remained on the road, traveling for family or fun came to a quick hault.  As leisure travel picked up in Spring of 2021, Motel 6 needed a way to inspire its budget-conscious travelers to get on the road again.

This campaign was intended to drive positive earned media impressions among guests and engagement around the Motel 6 brand, especially among older economy travelers.

Key metrics were total reach, paid impressions, earned impressions, and engagement with Grand Introduction campaign content.

Strategy and Execution

Through secondary research, we uncovered the cultural insight that four million babies were born during quarantine. With grandparents being one of the most susceptible groups to the virus, this meant millions of grandparents were unable to hold their new grandchildren for over a year. In fact, two out of five grandparents in the U.S. have had a grandchild born during the pandemic (Hospitality Net). As a brand that helps families travel affordably, Motel 6 knew they had to help support the first introduction between grandparents and their new grandkids.


Targeting grandparents led to the strategic partnership with AARP, a long-time partner of Motel 6. With massive reach and affinity among grandparents and older generations, and a long history of helping its members get out and travel, the partnership felt like a perfect fit. Plus, economy lodging grandparents over-index on being AARP members (132 index), and over half a million AARP members had booked with Motel 6 in the 12 months before launching this campaign.


Motel 6 and AARP teamed up to help grandparents safely meet their grandkids in person for the very first time, and captured these once-in-a-lifetime moments on film. Video and photo assets along with national survey results, a dedicated microsite, and “Grand Intro” discount were shared across both Motel 6 and AARP’s digital channels with paid, owned, and earned amplification.


By making travel more safe and accessible than ever, we gave Abuelas, Titos, Nonnys and Poppys a grand introduction they’ll never forget.


The Grand Introduction campaign was a huge success with over 3.5 billion earned media impressions across over 600 placements in publications like Yahoo News, MSN, and even industry pubs like AdAge and Campaign. The campaign also received over 20 million paid impressions in digital channels, which saw exceptional engagement including 10x the average engagement rate on a video posted to AARP’s Facebook page (the best in AARP history). Furthermore, despite it not being an objective, Motel 6 saw hundreds of incremental direct bookings from visitors to our Grand Intro microsite within the first month of the campaign. 


All cementing Motel 6 as the unofficial sponsor of grand introductions across the country.


Video for Grand Introduction

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Barkley, Motel 6


Entry Credits