The six friends theory
“In harmony with people and places” This has been the Mercure brand motto since 2013, when the brand underwent a strategic process of identity transformation. Used in all brand communication, the phrase expresses the Mercure promise of a warm and welcoming experience at hotels with distinctive, locally-influenced personalities. In 2015, Mercure decided to illustrate this position internationally through an operation entitled The Six Friends Theory. The initiative was inspired by the theory of six degrees of separation, which claims that any two people in the world may be connected by a relational chain including no more than five additional people. Mercure decided to test this theory in real life.
Mercure decided to illustrate its positioning “In harmony with people and places” with an international operation entitled The Six Friends Theory. The initiative was inspired by the theory of six degrees of separation, which claims that any two people in the world may be connected by a relational chain including no more than five additional people. To test this theory in real life, Mercure undertook to connect two people who were worlds apart: the winner of an international casting call conducted on Facebook, and an Aboriginal Australian man.
Having previously been only minimally present or active on social media, Mercure focused on using social media to establish contact with the public and achieve the following: showcase the brand’s extensive international network, bring to life its DNA by presenting hotel teams and buildings, and further modernize the brand image.
Anyone interested in taking part in the Six Friends event was invited to post a 1-minute maximum video expressing their personality and motivation on Mercure’s Facebook page. An international jury composed of business and media experts, journalists, and influential bloggers chose the Six Friends traveler from among the 50 people whose videos had received the most votes.
The winner Ludovica, a 22-year-old Italian woman, took off for a round-the-world journey whose path was traced according to where her friends and her friends’ friends lived, as well as the Mercure hotel network.
At each stop, she was warmly welcomed by a Mercure hotel manager who would guide her to the place where she would meet her next friend. The trip was shown on Mercure’s Facebook page in a video series composed of one trailer and seven 4 to 5-minute episodes. The series was promoted via traditional media, a press and e-press campaign, social media, and the Mercure website. In particular, the brand website featured a globe showing the location of all Mercure hotels. By clicking on any hotel, people could access the hotel factsheet. At every stop, Ludovica’s arrival was an opportunity to showcase the hotel director’s role as a guide for discovering the city.
Hotel teams expressed genuine enthusiasm for the project. Extending themselves above and beyond the role they were given to play in the web series, they made a point of providing Ludovica with sincere, heart-warming, and pleasantly surprising experiences.
Results: 600 candidates from 26 countries; 50,000 votes; +240,000 new Facebook fans; 11 million views of videos; 9.5% engagement rate; nearly 29 million people reached.
The 360° design of the operation enabled us to maximize results and effectively position the Mercure brand as connected, creative, friendly, and sensitive.