Like a duck to water... new Hastings Hotels video proves online sensation
Cute Christmas ads are no longer just for John Lewis as a local hotel chain has managed to produce a viral hit video.
Hastings Hotels brought one of their popular rubber ducks - often found in the chain's hotel bathrooms - to life for a slickly produced new ad campaign which has been viewed over half a million times online.
Using a mixture of computer animation and on-location filming at the Europa Hotel, The Doorman and the Duck tells the story of a duckling caught in a storm.
Welcomed in by a kind-hearted doorman, the stranded duck enjoys a luxurious night of shelter and mixes with guests in the Europa's piano lounge (presumably free of charge) before rejoining his flock.
The campaign was masterminded by marketing director Julie Hastings.
She said she was pleased that all the talent needed to see the project through was available in Northern Ireland.
"We had a great story for the advert, and while others go to London or Dublin to get that sort of expertise we have the talent here on our doorstep," she explained.
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She first suggested the idea of putting a complimentary rubber duck in guest's rooms 30 years ago.
The customer response was so enthusiastic the Hastings ducks have now become the face of the brand.
"Guests really responded to it and they were bringing them down with them for breakfast," she said.
"Now we have all these special edition ones like Rory Quackilroy, our Christmas duck this year will be Jemima Pudding duck."
She explained that a local design agency first came up with drawings and a look for the new advert.
"They found out video has the most traction on social media and this was a story that had brand recall," she said.
"People know us for our ducks and what we found out is that animals and pets get a big reaction in advertising".
The animation was handled by Belfast-based production company Street Monkey.
"They were able to bring the creations to life and also did a bit of filming at the Europa Hotel," she said.
With the campaign airing on UTV, social media as well as traditional formats like billboards, it's hoped more customers can be attracted from the Republic.
"We're also getting a lot of people from further afield that have relatives living in Northern Ireland, so (a voucher) is quite an easy way to get them a nice present.
"Everyone talks about the John Lewis campaign, that's the one to watch, but with our local experts we think we've done pretty well," she added.