Team One Takes The Ritz-Carlton to the Movies

El Segundo, CA - In what some may deem a bold move for a luxury brand like The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles-based advertising agency Team One has developed a series of three short films for its client The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. that highlights the brand's high level of service while showcasing its essence in an entertaining, compelling and humanistic way. The Ritz-Carlton is the first hotel company to debut short films as a promotional vehicle.

"The Ritz-Carlton becomes a character in these films," Chief Creative Officer Chris Graves said. "The hotel plays a role that enables these really special human stories to be told. The only risk we saw in developing these films was creating something that was not interesting."

Team One, part of the Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Network, worked with award-winning, Los Angeles production house Anonymous Content - best known for producing movies Babel and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - in making the three films, which originated with treatments and storylines written by Team One.

"We entrust Team One with the handling of our brand and making it a beacon for new customers as well as established brand advocates," said Bruce Himelstein, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. "In the three and a half years we have worked with Team One, our marketing programs have blossomed from print to online to CRM... and now to making movies."

The films, produced in partnership with American Express®, represent a shared focus for both companies on bringing unique, memorable Ritz-Carlton experiences to life on screen, as well as through special experiential hotel packages. In conjunction with the films, American Express Cardmembers can take advantage of a series of exclusive offers at Ritz-Carlton properties around the world.

Shyam Madiraju directed the three films, each approximately 10 minutes long. Born and raised in India, Madiraju is a rising talent in the directing community. In 2006, Madiraju was showcased by Shoot magazine as one of the top 25 New Directors to watch. Shots magazine also named him top directorial talent to watch in 2006. His award-winning debut continued when he won the Kodak® Young Directors Award at the Cannes Advertising festival the same year.

Following is a synopsis of each of the films:

THE DELAY (premiered January 28)
Weather delayed her flight. The airline lost her luggage. And she missed her concert. It was a tough ending to an even tougher week. Then, just when it seemed like destiny had turned its back on Sylvie, her fortune changed. When fate finally smiled upon her, she smiled back.

LAST NIGHT (premieres April 1)
Tomorrow is his wedding day. As he takes a moment to catch his breath in the hotel bar, a mysterious woman in red steals it away.

HEADS OR TAILS (premieres June 1)
One of them is a liar. One of them is a scoundrel. One of them is a thief. And through a sequence of escalating wagers, audacious escapades and brazen capers, we soon discover who is who. Heads you win. Tails you lose. Is it possible there's a third option?

"For us, this was 100 percent about consumer engagement," Management Director Julie Michael, who oversees The Ritz-Carlton business, said. "We needed to more deeply connect The Ritz-Carlton with its next-generation consumers. Our drive was to make something that consumers actually care about. Something that made them say, 'Hmmm, I never thought about The Ritz-Carlton in that way before.'"

The Delay premiered January 28 on www.ritzcarltonfilms.com, and expandable rich media banner ads began running on Yahoo! and MSN the same week. In addition to The Ritz-Carlton website, The Delay and soon the other two films can be seen on The Ritz-Carlton guest-room televisions worldwide.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company also is planning film screenings in New York, Los Angeles, London and Washington, D.C., as well as promotional events with W, Portfolio and several other magazines in Spring 2008. "Team One has long been working under the guise that creative content is no longer confined to a :30 format or a two-page spread. In fact, our Agency has been organized around the principle of ideas being bigger than ads since its inception. And this project with The Ritz-Carlton is just another example of how each client deserves a highly customized solution," agency CEO Brian Sheehan said. "We don't just do this because it's fun. Or to make the creative community turn an eye toward us. We do this because we know that creativity and consumer engagement are the keys to real business benefits for our clients."

To catch The Delay, and the other films as they premiere, go to www.ritzcalrtonfilms.com


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