Ad Nut
Mar 21, 2023

Brand closures as important as brand relaunches implies Mandarin Oriental's cheeky activation

Clever marketing doesn’t necessarily have to diss competition; engagement can also come by elevating rivals.

Typically, when a hotel shuts down for renovation, so does its marketing and PR machinery. But the rulebook differs when you’re the epitome of luxury like Mandarin Oriental.

Being cheeky with competition is a time-tested theme in advertising. Take Apple vs. Samsung for example, the rivals have spent over a decade bestowing hugely entertaining punches at each other, or Budweiser vs. Craft Beer taking down a whole industry of snobs. But there’s a sharp contrast between taking cheap pot shots for engagement or buzz and being saucy with rivals to raise the bar for a whole category.

Mandarin Oriental’s new campaign falls in the latter.

The luxury hotel in Singapore is closing for a six-month renovation, and instead of slowing down the marketing and PR efforts, the hotel has gone a step ahead to wow its affluent clientele with polish and poise. Exuding the stateliness known best to MO, the campaign by Forsman & Bodenfors has the general manager of the hotel write personalised handwritten notes to his counterparts at rivals neighbours such as Raffles, Four Seasons, The Fullerton, to simply ask, “will you take care of our guests while we’re away?”

With this heartfelt exchange, the general manager hopes that his peers and colleagues will help him continue providing the outstanding Singaporean hospitality his guests are so accustomed to receiving at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore.

The campaign unfolds on Instagram and Twitter. Ad Nut is curious to see if the other luxury hotels will chime in and keep an invigorating thread going. 

Putting rivals at the forefront and shining an equal light on their stature is a bold marketing move. Clearly MO has no doubts about its strategic position in luxury hospitality and holds complete faith in the loyalty of its customers.

Ad Nut lives for a risqué approach, the sassiness here is compelling, and the tactical bravado worth applauding. Enjoy the film, while Ad Nut gawps at MO’s stately air from afar and wonders why humans splurge to be spoiled when they can perfectly well experience magic in the wilderness. For free. 

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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