An Inspiring Journey – Bringing Hilton To Life Through Chalk Art

This information originated in UK English.

October 11, 2010

SINGAPORE -  "Let's bring Hilton to life through 3D chalk art!" This was the thought that flashed across my mind, when my boss and I stumbled across Julian Beever's 3D pavement chalk art pieces on the Internet, earlier this year in June. A worldwide Internet phenomenon, Julian is dubbed the "Pavement Picasso." His mind-blowing works of art and unique perspective made Julian the perfect fit with stylish and contemporary brand attributes of Hilton.

2010 has been an exciting year for the Hilton brand - with the launch of the global advertising campaign Stay Hilton, Go Everywhere, bringing the Brand story to different corners of the world. Out-of-home advertising. Check. Print advertising. Check. Online advertising. Check.  In Asia Pacific, the challenge that lay ahead of us was how we could continue to engage audiences with the evolving Hilton Brand story, breaking through the advertising clutter, and ensuring that the buzz that had already been created by the campaign was bought to another new high. Julian's 3D Chalk art presented us with an opportunity that we could not resist - to literally bring the "Stay Hilton, Go Everywhere" message to life, by partnering Julian on a series of road shows through Asia Pacific, where he would conjure up 3D chalk art pieces of our flagship properties, in front of live audiences.

Little did we realize that securing Julian's schedule was just the start of a whirlwind of events! The Hilton Chalk Art road show was more than just having Julian draw our properties in the various locations - Singapore, Australia and China. We had to ensure optimal conditions for his drawings, as well as package the brand message for a live audience. In Singapore, the event location was in Vivocity, the largest shopping mall in the city.  Recreating a pavement-like surface for Julian's drawing took 6 weeks (!!!) before we managed to get as close a match to an actual pavement surface. An event booth had to be designed to highlight Julian's partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts, alongside brand advertising. We also decided to work together with the HHonors team in Asia Pacific, to leverage on the consumer event as a spring board to share the HHonors proposition, and encourage membership signups via iPads onsite.

In Australia, we were presented with a different challenge - the selected location was Queen Street Mall, an outdoor, pedestrian shopping mall in Brisbane. Hence we decided a free-style approach for the chalk art event was required - doing away with an elaborate event set-up, and incorporating more quirky elements. For instance, "Stay Hilton, Go Everywhere" in 3D block letters will be installed around the perimeter of the chalk art. Scooters carrying teaser billboard messages will also travel around the Queen Street Mall area during the week of the event, to create awareness of the event.

(Finally) on 4 October, Julian started work on the very first Hilton property chalk art in Singapore. With each passing day my sense of pride and satisfaction grew, as the property started taking shape infront on my eyes and more people stopped by to admire his work. The live audience was mesmerized not only by the 3D chalk art, but was also intrigued by the collaboration between Hilton and Julian. On the second day, a lady came up to me and said, "Very unexpected of Hilton, but an incredibly powerful and engaging idea. I cannot wait to see what he does in other parts of Asia Pacific!" A visiting media partner mentioned, "This is quite amazing, you guys are really thinking out-of-the-box!"  Evidently, the event had great resonance with the ground, and had created an excitement around the brand.

Indeed - the medium is sometimes the message. 3D chalk art has provided us with an alternative media platform, to further the Hilton brand story, through the vivid shades of Julian's chalk art. Challenging, and breaking the boundaries of the traditional media plan, has allowed us to engage in a more compelling, and relevant way with audiences of today. In terms of marketing, the venture into the relatively untested waters of 3D chalk art was bold and forward looking - a reflection of the essence of the Hilton brand.

The success of the event bears testament to Hilton's support for innovation, and the courage to be a trailblazer in different domains. This has once again inspired me in my journey with the Hilton brand, and given me the confidence that together as a team, we would be able to bring the world's most famous hotel brand to yet another new high.

Fiona Chung, manager, Hilton brand marketing, is a two year Hilton team member.