The guests of Holiday Inn aren't just guests. They're real people with real stories, and extraordinary journeys along the way. This story, which launches Holiday Inn's "The Journey To Extraordinary," campaign, features Scott Rigsby. After enduring a horrible accident, Scott was left a double-amputee. Told he would never run again, his passion, he became depressed. The depression (and as a result, drug and alcohol addiction) got to the point where he couldn't go on.
But then he found the strength to rehabilitate. In Panama City, Florida, he was checked into a Holiday Inn to await the creation of his prosthetic legs, and continue on with his physical rehab. Holiday Inn, by extension, became his rehab center and extended family, especially Julie Hilton, the owner of the resort.
Despite the rising costs, Julie didn't push him to pay his bills. She let him stay. Without her, he would have been homeless.
Cut to Scott's strength and recovery, to become the world's first double amputee to finish the Hawaiian Iron Man triathlon. Many marathons and world records and motivational books and speaking engagements later, Scott's journey is as impressive as it is ongoing. It's a great testament to his courage and will.
As for Holiday Inn's part, this is more the story of one resort owner than the brand itself, but Julie Hilton is a good symbol of the brand.
While I think "on the journey to extraordinary there is always a Holiday Inn hotel," feels too much like a lift from a strategic brief, I do like the sentiment. Travel companies like Expedia, and really, a lot of brands in general are heading down this "real true stories, of real true people," angle. But they're doing it for a reason. It resonates.
As funny as the "I'm a loser, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express," campaign was, it seems to have dated more than this ever will. Then again, humor is universal, and some true stories not only won't appeal to everyone, but it might turn them off, depending on the story line.
It'll be interesting to see what other stories Holiday Inn has in this campaign. Taken as a whole they might add up to the extraordinary word that Holiday Inn is trying to own.