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Red Lion Hotels & Inns `Roars Back' With a New Look and an Aggressive New Marketing Campaign.

VANCOUVER, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 20, 1999--

One of the Northwest's best-known names in hospitality is back, with a new look and a fresh way to communicate its message of care, comfort and value.

The 29 properties of Red Lion Hotels & Inns this week are unveiling their new corporate identity, coinciding with the release of new promotional materials and the launch of a new advertising campaign, all built around the image of the company's noble namesake.

For the creative team at R/H/A/S, Red Lion's new advertising agency, the lion was a logical image on which to base its efforts.

"The stature of the lion communicates royalty, self-assurance, but also playfulness," said Mike Arthur, R/H/A/S creative director. "No pun intended, but it provided a warm and fuzzy image that was important to convey."

"The lion is a symbol of pride, and this has been a proud Northwest brand for many years," said copywriter Gail Matthews. "Also, it's a protective symbol -- for the business traveler after a long day, the Red Lion is a place where you can leave the workday behind you and relax in comfort."

In fact, lion imagery is now an essential element in all things Red Lion. Ads, onsite literature, signage, vehicles, even a 737 jet that serves gaming properties in Nevada -- if it bears the name, it bears the mane. And that's just fine with Jim Dina, chief operating officer of Red Lion Hotels & Inns.

"The agency has done an outstanding job in taking a 30-year-old, well-established logo and breathing new life into it, through the use of live lions," said Dina. "I think it's a very sophisticated, majestic look. At the same time, it has some fun and I think that it's very representative of what Red Lion is. What you see in the ads, the feeling you get, is the personality of our company. There's nothing in the hospitality industry that comes close to this styling."

"Not only will we aggressively pursue business travelers and weekend leisure travelers, we are also on a mission to become the brand of choice with unique market segments," said Charlie Cahill, director of sales and marketing for Red Lion Hotels & Inns. "The new imagery of the advertising will help us make a great impression on government travelers, active adults over 50 and AAA members. We expect the concentrated execution of over $400,000 in advertising in the fourth quarter to really jump-start our re-emergence in the western U.S."

"Consistency is clearly important to Red Lion, so it became important to us in our creative approach," said Constance Southwick, R/H/A/S president and CEO. "The message must always be in a visual format that is instantly identifiable as Red Lion."

The agency's creative work on behalf of Red Lion Hotels & Inns can be viewed online at its Web site: www.rhas.com/redlion.

The visual format created by R/H/A/S -- and enforced in a book of graphic guidelines produced by the agency employs black with burgundy accents for Red Lion's corporate colors. Arthur and his creative team have spent hundreds of hours researching image banks to locate fun and interesting images of lions to use in its many whimsical ads and point-of-purchase displays: Lions in trees enjoying "hang time" to promote leisure travel; mirror-image lions ("copy cat") to promote two-for-one bonus points in the Red Lion Club frequent guest program; and the majestic lion displayed to let travel agents know that their customers will be treated like royalty.

"The creative spins are just wonderful," said art director Casey Tichenor. "And one of the best things is, they've given us a free hand to have fun with it."

At launch time, the response to the Red Lion's new campaign has been positive -- not only among the company's guests, franchise owners and investors, but also among the trade media, said Bob Ryan, R/H/A/S business development manager. "The Red Lion properties have been calling and faxing and sending notes saying this stuff is really fantastic," said Ryan. "Even the media that we're sending insertion orders out to have been calling back and saying the same thing. We're proud to be a part of this launch."

Red Lion Hotels & Inns, headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., was founded in 1959. Including the nine hotels to be converted Oct. 4, 1999, the portfolio of Red Lion hotels includes 29 properties with over 4,800 rooms located in nine states. It is owned by Promus Hotel Corporation (NYSE:PRH), the franchisor/operator of the Doubletree Hotels, Suites, Resorts & Clubs, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Red Lion Hotels & Inns, Embassy Vacation Resort and Hampton Vacation Resort brands. The company also manages non-Promus branded hotels and facilities in its University Hotel & Conference Center division. The company franchises, operates or owns hotels throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Promus is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and has approximately 40,000 employees.
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Date:Sep 20, 1999
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