Premier Inn brings back Lenny Henry in first campaign by Leo Burnett

Hotel brand returns to TV after a three-year hiatus.

British hotel giant Premier Inn has unveiled its first TV ad campaign in over three years as members of the public dust off their suitcases and start thinking about travel once again.

It is the brand’s debut campaign from Leo Burnett, after the Publicis Groupe shop replaced Lucky Generals following a four-month pitch process last year.

Premier Inn’s new brand platform, “Rest easy”, sees a revamp of the chain’s visual identity – focusing on flexibility and “booking without the faff”.

In attempts to reconnect the general public with the UK’s largest hotel chain, Leo Burnett brought in big names in the industry – including Sir Lenny Henry, the former star of its ad campaigns, who returns to voice the TV and radio ads.

The campaign was created by art director Steph Ellis and copywriter Rory Hall. The down-to-earth and humorous TV ad, “From booking to bed”, is directed through Partizan by Ally Pankiw – who also directed Channel 4 series Feel Good, and has written for Canadian series Schitt’s Creek. The media agency is UM.

In an attempt to set it apart from rival brands, the campaign instils the emotional benefits of Premier Inn’s features, including bottomless breakfasts, flexibility, and comfortable king-sized beds.

Tamara Strauss, global customer director at Premier Inn, said: “We all love to get away and it’s safe to say that for many people this year the prospect of a holiday can’t come a moment too soon.

“At Premier Inn, we don’t just offer a comfy bed for a great price - we enshrine rest easy every step of the way, including through our enhanced CleanProtect hygiene regime, to help guests stay with confidence and the warm welcome from our teams.”

The campaign also sees a visual rebranding of the hotel chain, with help from typographer Alison Carmicheal whose previous clients include Sainsbury’s and Madame Tussauds.

Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn, were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic – triggering an eventual 1,500 redundancies and a loss of £725m in six months last year.

At a time when brands are keeping costs low – with the hospitality sector having lost an estimated £200m a day in 2020 – it’s a bold move from the chain as they gear up for re-opening ahead of a predicted staycation boom.

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