Andaz Brand Campaign: The Story of Hyatt’s Luxury Lifestyle Hotels


Skift Take

Hyatt’s brand muse Crystal Vinisse Thomas reveals the thinking behind her seven-figure marketing campaign for luxury lifestyle brand Andaz.

Hyatt’s luxury lifestyle brand, Andaz, launched a brand awareness campaign in November called Be Like No One’s Watching. The campaign illustrates the many challenges and opportunities that hotel groups face as they market brands in today’s noisy media ecosystem. So Skift checked in to see how it’s been going.

“On the initial benchmarks we set for engagement and viewership, the results have been great so far,” said Crystal Vinisse Thomas, vice president and global brand leader of Hyatt’s lifestyle and luxury brands.

The campaign is the first for Andaz since the hotel brand debuted in 2007. The campaign is the brainchild of Thomas, one of AdAge’s 2023 picks for its 40 under 40 list. Thomas previously did brand work for Apple’s Beats by Dre and Marriott’s luxury lifestyle brand W.

photo of Crystal Vinisse Thomas vice president and global brand leader at Hyatt
Crystal Vinisse Thomas works on seven of Hyatt’s brands. Source: Hyatt.

Experiential Travel

Hyatt said it’s making “a seven-figure investment” in the year-long campaign. It has dropped three ads so far, with three more coming soon. The aim has been to break through the noise with a non-traditional marketing approach.

“One thing that was important to me was that — because Andaz is a lifestyle brand — we should talk about the lifestyle and experiences versus the transactional nature of a hotel booking,” Thomas said.

She felt that hotel marketing too often focuses on showing people guest rooms or pools and call-to-actions to book rather than storytelling of the kind that companies like Nike do. Travelers should be able to see themselves in the story, she said.

In the Andaz brand campaign, Hyatt’s team showcased real people living out their more aspirational and non-traditional sides in the setting of Andaz properties.

For example, one middle-aged school teacher visits a property to enjoy experiences like DJ-ing and karaoke and playing an electric guitar on the bed to connect with his deep inner love of music.

@hyatt

From Bali to Prague to Mexico City to Scottsdale – escape to an Andaz hotel and awaken your passion, uniqueness and being. At Andaz hotels, the version of yourself you want to be has the room (or suite) to shine.

♬ original sound – Hyatt

Bringing a Luxury Lifestyle Hotel Brand to Life

Thomas thought it was important to select real people, rather than models. They interviewed many people to find a handful who had day jobs but also secret passions, such as one person who wanted to be an Afropunk fashionista.

Some of the best moments happened through experimentation and serendipity, Thomas said.

One concept had been to depict a woman on a box at a resort surrounded by flowers so her love of dancing could be highlighted.

The portrait photographer, Afanador, suggested having the woman hold a parrot, but Thomas thought that would be “cheesy.” Yet when they experimented with having the woman hold the parrot, they got some beautiful shots and video.

“Anika just started to move and flow with the parrot, and it was a perfect pairing of the moment, and it allowed the idea to manifest itself,” Thomas said. “She’s never held a parrot before and, suddenly, that moment has unlocked a part of herself even more and gave her the freedom to tap into it and express herself.”

“Our whole campaign is about exploring our daring personas through travel,” Thomas said. “Thinking about that moment where we captured it just gives me the chills.”

@hyatt

Each time you travel is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. When you stay at an Andaz hotel, we empower you to move to your own rhythm and lose yourself in the journey– no matter the destination. Dance down the streets–– or the hotel corridor–– when you stay at Andaz Hotels & Resorts.

♬ original sound – Hyatt

Campaign Cheat Sheet

  • Where are the ads appearing? The ads have been appearing for about a year in print, online, and in paid and brand-owned social channels, such as TikTok. The campaign artwork will appear in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Vogue helped launch the current campaign’s advertising, starting with its September issue.
  • Who made it? Thomas and her colleague Kenneth Allen Villamil, vice president, global brand design, tapped branding agency RO New York as a conceptual partner. (Andaz has no agency of record.) Hyatt hired portrait photographer Ruven Afanador, cinematographer Joshua Steen, and stylist Bernat Buscato to bring the scenes to life.
  • What’s happening at the hotels themselves? The campaign is accompanied by a set of occasional events at all 25 Andaz properties that aim to help guests live out their fantasies. Examples include a recent professional DJ’s masterclass in how to mix music at the Andaz Mexico City Condesa or a  pottery-making class at one of the oldest art schools in Delhi that was recently bookable at Andaz Delhi (Aerocity).

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