Jill Kluge

Jill Kluge
Group Director of Brand Communications
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Too often people associate marketing leadership with a span of months, not years, despite recent news from executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart that the average tenure for chief marketing officers of leading US consumer brand companies rose to 45 months.

Jill Kluge may break these rules on corporate longevity with a 23-year tenure, but her long-term devotion to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel brand has seen five-fold growth in the number of new, distinctive properties, as well as an iconic advertising campaign that turned the industry on its head in 2000 and continues to grow in richness and originality—much like the hotel group itself.

In fact, Mandarin Oriental’s multi-million dollar global advertising campaign “He’s a Fan/She’s a Fan” continues to gather “fans” from around the world, and to date, 26 exceptional personalities, who are loyal visitors to the hotel, have been featured in the project.  None are paid for their participation, but all are thanked with a donation from Mandarin Oriental to the charity of their choice.  It’s a genuine example of brand advocacy in the highest form.

Although the idea of using celebrities in advertising certainly isn’t unique, Mandarin Oriental’s connection to the fan, the hotel’s logo, worked to insure that people remembered the brand—not just the celebrity.  The campaign is breakthrough in that it avoids all the expected trappings of hotel advertising—from photos of rooms, great locations or reservation numbers.  According to Jill Kluge, “By focusing on celebrities who clearly appreciate the finer things in life, we have been able to show the quality of our hotels in a far more interesting way than traditional hotel advertising.”

She’s confident that the idea has continued longevity because of its simplicity and brilliance… and the fact there there’s an ever-growing list of fantastic people that she’d like to feature in the campaign.

Mandarin Oriental is the operator of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, resorts and residences, and is renowned for creating unique hotels with outstanding service. The Group was founded in 1963 with the opening of ‘The Mandarin’ in Hong Kong. In 1974, the Group acquired Bangkok’s famous historic hotel, “The Oriental”, and the brand Mandarin Oriental was born.  The Group currently operates, or has under development, 11,000 rooms in major cities and key leisure destinations in 27 countries around the world.

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