Motel 6 Unveils First 'We'll Leave the Light On' Ads from Barkley

Work also salutes new grandparents who can finally meet their grandkids

Motel 6 presents a diverse group of faces—and a slightly altered take on its iconic tagline—in its first advertising from Barkley, eight months after parting ways with The Richards Group following a racist comment from Stan Richards.

The new work splits the old tagline, "We'll leave the light on for you," into two sentences, "We'll leave the light on. For you," to emphasize a more personal commitment to the motel chain's guests.

The first two spots feature a Black man and pair of a Hispanic grandparents reuniting with family as the pandemic eases (and travel gets back to more normal levels). Both spots tell poignant stories of expanding families—in the first, Omar is bringing his pregnant sister a family rocking chair, while in the second, Abuela and Tito are traveling to meet their grandson, born in quarantine.

We’ll leave the light on. For Omar.
We’ll leave the light on. For Abuela & Tito.

Other grandparents meeting their new grandchildren for the first time is the focus of two other spots, as well as a longer-form film. Motel 6 research revealed that 42 percent of U.S. grandparents have had a grandchild born since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some 56 percent of grandparents said the first trip they're planning to take is to see their grandchildren—with almost half of those already planning their visit.

Grand Introductions: The Kus Family
Grand Introductions: Maria Veronica
Real Grandparents Finally Meet Their Grandbabies | Motel 6

"As more and more Americans feel ready to travel again, we are thrilled to be able to take part in some of these much-needed family reunions," says Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality. "We will continue to leave the light on for all guests, whether that be grandparents staying with Motel 6 on the way to visit family or as a way to socially distance and remain safe for upcoming family visits."

For the full history of the Motel 6 campaign, check out this recent episode of our Tagline podcast.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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