When Holiday Inn rebranded and refreshed their thousands and thousands of hotels across the globe, they came to me looking for a way to get the word out in a fun, visual way, that people could interact with. I responded with an entire hotel room constructed out of glued hotel keycards—a life-sized bed, lamps, bathroom, and even the toilet provided great photo ops. I didn’t stop there. I even built a lobby with a front desk and armchairs. I keep saying I, but really it was we. I provided technical and creative direction to a crew of about ten people who worked for several months to construct this massive project. We even sewed keycards together to make pillowcases, a roll of toilet paper, and a shower curtain. We made special translucent cards for the lampshades. Each and every piece was glued together in a way as to be as authentic-looking as possible.
Upon completion we crated it all up and shipped it to New York City, where we set up the fully executed hotel room inside a huge geodesic dome on the Seaport in lower Manhattan. Pedestrians near and far could tell something was up, and when they strolled into the dome, they found the Keycard Hotel. They were greeted at a desk. They could lounge in the chairs and get a photo on the bed or in the bathroom. To pull it all together, I built a live freestanding playing card version of the Empire State Building onsite as a shout-out to NYC (no tape, no glue on that one). The display (and our crew) also traveled to Washington, DC, for another public event and it then shipped onward to Nashville where the structure is permanently housed. The project was a media sensation, and was a great example of the power of PR versus traditional advertising. Even the Wall Street Journal took note of how Holiday Inn had used a unique marketing event to get the word out that their properties—all of them—were fresh and new.