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Embassy Suites receives uniform offering from 'The Apprentice'


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It may not be Ivanka Trump's style, but it suits Embassy Suites

When the Embassy Suites’ shuttle slowly drove by a stressed-out agent Jack Bauer on a recent episode of “24,” it was no covert operation. The hotel chain paid to have their brand appear on the show, just as they do when the logo is affixed to speakers’ podiums in other television shows.

TiVo—which makes it easy to fast-forward through commercials—has changed the way companies advertise. Subliminal product placements are in vogue, and reality TV shows are making it easier for brands to snag airtime at a fraction of the cost it would take to buy the same amount of airtime for commercials.

Embassy Suites is the latest franchise to appear on Donald Trump’s show, “The Apprentice.” Last season the two competing teams of apprentices took on the challenge of redesigning the hotel staff’s uniforms.

“It was a last-minute deal,” says John Lee, vice president of brand marketing and communications for Embassy Suites. “Usually it’s booked out six months to a year, but somebody dropped out…which made it affordable.”

About 11 million people watched the episode—on a show that charges $250,000 for a 30-second spot.

An added bonus was that the uniforms were something the chain could actually use with a little modifications. “We weren’t expecting to use them,” Lee admits. With some input from the staff who will be wearing them and a designer, the uniforms will be rolled out for staff to wear.

It will be just the fourth time a sponsoring company actually adopts the product the apprentices come up with, Lee says.

“Donald (Trump) talks that up” (when he talks to other companies about sponsoring projects for his apprentices to do on air), says Lee.

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