Have these Motel 6 execs never seen an episode of VH1's Behind the Music? Have they never heard of Keith Moon or Amy Winehouse? Don't they know the kind of havoc rock stars can wreak on hotel rooms?
In all seriousness, the move is a calculated one on Motel 6's part. The chain hopes that the free rooms will coax band members into saying something nice about the brand on their Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, where it will reach young fans.
One would-be star gives Motel 6 high marks already; in this USA Today article, the lead singer of Sparks the Rescue says Motel 6 is much better than his band's usual digs: a generous friend's floor or sandwiched between pieces of equipment in the van.
Of course, Motel 6 isn't just offering this promo to anyone who can squeeze into a pair of Spandex pants or perform a convincing air-guitar solo during a Journey song. It's partnered with bicoastal music publisher and marketing company Primary Wave Music, which is going to pick a trio of up-and-coming artists. These lucky strivers will get to stay at Motel 6 for free for six weeks as they tour around the country.
It's a smart business move. Bargain-priced chains like Motel 6 have fared better during this recession than their ultra-luxe brethren, but they haven't been immune to the effects of the economic downturn. This lets them fill rooms that might otherwise go empty and get free publicity in return.
Is it going to make fans more likely to stay there? Maybe, if they're die-hards who want to up their chances of running into their idol at the ice machine. In all likelihood, though, the value of the campaign will be a bit more subtle than that. By aiming for a young, music-savvy crowd, Motel 6 is setting itself up to be the crash pad of choice for pilgrims to festivals like SXSW, who don't want to rough it in a tent on a soggy field somewhere. If one of the selected groups turns out to be the Next Big Thing, the chance of this promotion having traction beyond the tour is much greater.
Motel 6 isn't the only brand trying to hitch its wagon to tomorrow's Whitesnake or White Stripes. As we told you back in June, Denny's cooked up a rock 'n roll-themed promotion featuring performers like Good Charlotte, Jewel and Rascal Flatts.
No word yet on whether or not guests staying adjacent to the rockers will receive complimentary ear plugs.
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