Holiday Inn Brands Move From McCann N.Y. to WPP Group

Shift follows appointment of new top marketer at hotels' parent

InterContinental Hotel Group’s Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands have checked out of McCann Erickson, N.Y. The global creative has been consolidated within WPP Group.

The two chains’ combined U.S. ad spending in 2011, per Nielsen, was $33.6 million, an amount that does not include digital or business-to-business advertising.

McCann, then an IHG roster agency outside the United States, won the business in 2009 and added markets like the U.S. that had previously been handled by Fallon. The latest shift came after IHG appointed Larry Light as its global chief brands officer in April, with the former McDonald’s CMO replacing Tom Seddon, who left the company last July. Light also has an agency background, having held top positions at Bates Worldwide and BBDO.

A WPP rep declined to offer specifics about which company or companies in the group would handle the business. Light and IHG reps did not return calls.

In other account activity at McCann, North American president Hank Summy confirmed that agency client Kohl’s had issued an RFP to other shops for strategy work on the account but said the business was not in review. The Interpublic agency was selected as Kohl’s creative lead in 2000. In recent years, however, other shops like New York independent DeVito/Verdi have picked up brand work like last spring’s "Athletes" campaign featuring U.S. Olympics soccer player Mia Hamm and skier Lindsey Vonn. In 2011, Kohl’s spent $268 million in measured media, according to Nielsen.

Vicki Shamion, svp of public relations at Kohl’s, explained the change: “Over the course of the last several years, we have migrated into a model of using several agencies including McCann Erickson, DeVito/Verdi and others.”

Another McCann client, Staples, is also currently putting feelers out to other shops for a retail assignment related to the Windows 8 launch.