brand experiences


What We Did:

Mason Williams approached production company Betty TV to secure a prominent and impressive placement for the 5-star May Fair Hotel on Channel 4’s prime-time series ‘Ruth Watson’s Hotel Rescue’.

Why We Did This:

We re-launched the 5 star May Fair Hotel in 2006 and have since established it as a leading London hotel. The London hotel scene began to change in 2009 with new openings and refurbishments of other luxury properties; and we were already looking ahead to 2010 when the luxury hotel sector would get even more crowded with new offerings in the Capital. We needed to ensure that the May Fair Hotel continued to stand out and to have a loud, strong and targeted voice in a busy market place.

The Brief:

The series, fronted by Ruth Watson, would follow six wannabe hoteliers – none of whom had any industry experience. As a well-respected hotel, with high profile clients from A-List celebrities to hosting major events such as London Fashion Week, we worked to secure the May Fair Hotel as an expert that would offer on-the-job training for one of the wannabe couples. Given the hotel’s experience in the event industry, we decided to work with an American couple, Kent and Claire, who wanted to open a country hotel to cater for the luxury wedding market. They needed event experience and we worked with programme creators to position the May Fair Hotel as the event experts.

The Challenges:

  • Message management

Our priority was to ensure that the messaging was positive throughout, however the production company could not offer editorial approval. As such we had to work closely with Betty TV to ensure that the messages were carefully managed. Our positing of the hotel as the expert helped with this. In addition, prior to every interview with the hotel team, we fully briefed the client on messaging, tone, and content, to ensure the best possible portrayal of the hotel.

  • Managing Filming

Betty TV worked with two film crews from 1pm until 12.30am. Mason Williams were present throughout to ensure the hotel looked its best and that what was caught on camera portrayed the hotel and team in the best possible light.

  • The Penthouse Party

We had to ensure that there was communication to all guests to explain the filming at the private event. We were able to manage the filming to cause minimum disruption to the event guests.

How We Did It:

  • Following a series of planning meetings with the AP and Series Director, we established the tone and content required for the show, and ensured that the positioning of the hotel would:
  • Endorse the May Fair Hotel as THE venue for events and glamorous parties
  • Communicate the hotel’s status as the official hotel of London Fashion Week
  • Position the hotel as THE choice for the entertainment industry
  • Endorse the hotel as one of the finest and most glamorous hotel choices in London

Kent and Claire worked a 10-hour day at the hotel, which was filmed in its entirety. We oversaw all filming as well as securing interviews with key hotel personnel throughout the day. They were tasked to manage a high profile event in the hotel’s £5k per-night Penthouse Suite, which was to be attended by key hotel clients and guests. Under supervision, and with the mentorship of Charles Oak (the hotel’s General Manager), the couple were given the responsibility of the preparation, execution and over all smooth running of the event.

Key Messages:

We worked with the production company until the final edit to ensure messaging, positioning, content, visuals and branding were the strongest they could be, from the initial introduction to the final voice over. Excerpts include:

“They have no idea how to run events, so I’m sending them off to London’s glamorous May Fair Hotel, which holds parties all year round…”
Ruth Watson’s introduction

“Events are serious business for the May Fair. They hold 28 functions a week that can cost anything from £5,000 to £250,000. It’s the Official Hotel for London Fashion Week, and is a firm favourite with the film industry. Today, there are 9 events on at the hotel. Kent and Claire have been given the chance to oversee a promotional drinks party in the most exclusive venue – the £5,000 per night Penthouse suite.”

“As someone who has managed Madonna’s wedding at Skibo Castle, Charles knows there’s no place for amateurs in this business.”

The Results:

  • The May Fair Hotel episode was the second in the series, airing at 8pm on Wednesday 7 October 2009
  • The episode was viewed by 2,101,000 people
  • The full days filming at the May Fair Hotel resulted in 6 minutes of prime-time footage on Channel 4 and repeated on Channel 4+1 and 4oD
  • The footage on Channel 4 alone was worth in excess of £152,000 in terms of equivalent advertising value
  • This TV placement delivered vital and engineered messages:
  • Glamorous London hotel
  • Official hotel of London Fashion Week and other leading events
  • A luxurious and high-class hotel with stunning interiors and suites
  • A knowledgeable, personable and experienced General Manager and team
  • High impact branded and verbal mentions for the hotel
  • Endorsement by Ruth Watson, and strong voice over delivering perfect positioning of the hotel and team
  • The best choice of hotel venue for events in London

Charles Oak, General Manager of the 5* May Fair Hotel commented:

“Mason Williams brought us a fantastic TV opportunity to profile the hotel and team, and show us as the experts we are. All the details of the filming were fully managed by Mason Williams and they made sure that we always looked our best. We felt very supported throughout and the results were fantastic. People still mention that they saw me on the show! It was great for our profile, especially now, when the London hotel market is getting so crowded.”

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