Step and Repeat

As the propagation of news has gone from top-down to bottom-up to sideways, the client mandate of building a positive presence in the media and social spheres remains a constant.

Outside of technology and consumer packaged goods, I’d argue that Hollywood has embraced the new marketing rules as much as any industry. The just concluded OMMA Hollywood, next month’s AlwaysOn On Hollywood and just-announced Digital Hollywood confabs certainly attest to this.

So where does the lowly “press junket” figure in today’s changed marketing mix? Apparently right up there, if you consider one hotel’s plans to build the perfect space for hosting these hyper-controlled, one-on-one (mostly vapid) speed-interviewing sessions between celebs and the media filter.

According to a piece in today’s New York Times, The W Hotel, on the fabled corner of Hollywood and Vine, is being built with the goal of usurping The Four Seasons as the preferred press junket palace:

“One hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, by itself enjoys ‘about 90 percent’ of the junket trade. Jorge Collazo, the Four Seasons’ director of marketing, said he could not quantify the market share, but confirmed that his hotel ‘definitely has the majority of the junketing business.'”

The W hopes to woo the left coast PR set by investing in the press junket as a mainstay in the Hollywood marketing mix:

“Junkets are highly structured events and require a specific configuration of hospitality rooms and reception rooms, according to the architect. Some hotel rooms need at least three bathrooms, with two of them large enough for a hair stylist or makeup artist to work in.”

“Those same rooms need to be capable of being emptied of furniture at a moment’s notice so they can be transformed into “taping suites,” where actors can chat on camera with a succession of reporters and camera operators, who wait their turns in the adjoining hallway. In a single weekend under the lights, actors might grant up to 50 interviews.”

When the W Hollywood hotel opens in November, “the junketing wars can commence.” In typical Hollywood fashion, the marketing manager of The Four Seasons nonchalantly sniffed:

“It is easy to create a building and make it pretty and have all the proper equipment. The part you cannot produce so easily is the wealth of knowledge that comes from experience. The human resource is clearly an advantage over any new product.”

I say send them both free passes to the Digital Hollywood event. Then perhaps they’ll offer free broadband wireless throughout their properties, and consider installing digital video edit booths. Flip cams for all guests, anyone?


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