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Spring 2001
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Marriott Morality
Peter Reinharz
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The famous hotel chain woos "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" for a quickie.

Marriott Hotels should be ashamed of its new ad campaign. The giant chain's artfully done posters, seemingly on every commuter rail car in the New York area, depict an attractive 20-something couple the woman looking perhaps a bit younger because of her undergraduate-style backpack purse in a sexy embrace. The young man leans over, touching his forehead to hers. Both smile broadly, staring mischievously in each other's eyes and pressing pelvises together. No wedding bands.

The poster's opening line reads: "We've spent the last six months thinking about your love life." Then this paragraph: "At Marriott, we put a lot of time into creating a weekend for falling in love. With so many Marriotts to choose from, you can easily say, love is just around the corner." Contact information follows to help you reserve your exciting weekend.

In other words: come on down, young unmarried and uncommitted couples, have sex in our comfy rooms, and you might—might—fall in love. No need to feel furtive. We welcome your business.

Sure, advertising often uses sex to sell, but this ad comes uncomfortably close to selling sex. In an era when the sexual revolution's devastating consequences in broken families and fatherless kids have become numbingly familiar, Marriott has defined dalliance down.

 

 


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