Hotel Online  Special Report

 Housekeepers, Bellmen, Waiters Are the Celebrities in Peninsula Hotels’ Global Advertising Campaign


HONG KONG (October 06, 2004) – The collaboration of two legends debuts this fall with the launch of The Peninsula Hotels’ new global advertising campaign, featuring the work of renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.

“Portraits of Peninsula” is a collection of black-and-white photos that go to the heart of the guest experience that distinguishes Peninsula hotels as the finest in the world.  With the photos, Leibovitz departs from her tradition of celebrity portraiture to focus on the people and personalities behind the Peninsula brand.  While not famous, the faces of Peninsula pageboys, housekeepers and bellmen are just as compelling as those of celebrities when seen through her lens.

“So much of what makes Peninsula’s style of hospitality special is the personal connection our staff has with guests,” said Peter C. Borer, Chief Operating Officer, The Peninsula Hotels.  “Our culture of warm and genuine service is expressed through every one of our family of employees.  To us, service is an art, which is why we chose a true artist to represent it.  Annie Leibovitz captured the spirit of our employees with sincerity.  Through the honesty of her images, we have created a campaign that will resonate with our audience for a very long time.”

“I love the stories behind what people do, and in portraiture, you need to know the stories and then the image comes to life for you,” said Annie Leibovitz.  “After arriving in Hong Kong after a 24-hour trip and receiving the most gracious welcome I have ever experienced, I truly understood the significance of what we were shooting – the real stars of The Peninsula Hotels – the wonderful caring staff.  It was really moving photographing them, and by the time I had finished, I felt that I had a real insight into the people who work for the Pen and the pride they take in their work.  I have been looking for stories like that for years.”

Implemented by AGENCYSACKS, New York, the campaign was photographed on location at Peninsula properties in the U.S. and Asia.  Leibovitz was given free rein to roam the hotels, in public spaces and back-of-the-house areas, shooting wherever she wished and choosing whichever scenes or staff members that she believed best represented the heart and soul of the hotels.  Evocative enough to stand on their own, the photos are supported with simple, descriptive captions and “Portraits of Peninsula” tagline. 

“‘Portraits of Peninsula’” is a dramatic departure from traditional hotel advertising; there are no models or staged images in these photos, and the only celebrity is the one behind the camera,” added Mr. Borer.  “We gave Ms. Leibovitz a virtual blank canvas and an invitation to interpret the Peninsula experience with complete freedom.  She responded with images that capture the essence of Peninsula service, while also conveying the luxury, style and glamour of our properties.”

Leibovitz’s images celebrate the doormen, room attendants and other staff who bring life and warmth to the hotels’ sumptuous surroundings.  In one endearing shot, The Peninsula Hong Kong’s fleet manager stands proudly next to one of the hotel’s 14 Rolls-Royces, a 1934 Phantom II, his eyeglasses and expression uncannily similar to the face of the car.  In another, a white-uniformed Peninsula pageboy navigates his way down a busy Manhattan street, unflustered despite having his hands full -- literally -- with an assortment of guests’ dogs.  Leibovitz features the iconic Peninsula pageboy frequently in her photos.  The personification of the company’s personal approach to service, the pageboy’s sole function is to respond to guest needs.  Pageboys are at the ready at all Peninsula hotels, a tradition introduced at the Hong Kong property more than 75 years ago. 

The multi-year campaign will be introduced with an eight-page insert in November issues of luxury lifestyle, travel and business magazines, including Travel + Leisure, Departures, Town & Country and Forbes.  Ads also will run in select U.S. and international newspapers in 2004 and 2005 and beyond. 

In conjunction with the campaign, The Peninsula Hotels plans to launch a multi-year charitable program in partnership with Annie Leibovitz to benefit under-privileged students of photography in select cities where Peninsula properties are located.  Peninsula will be the title sponsor of the program, known as “The City” a competition, in which students will be asked to shoot a photo essay about the city in which they live.  Leibovitz will judge the photo essays and select the winners.  Plans call for the 2005 program to benefit the International Center for Photography at the Point in Hunts Point, South Bronx, New York.  Future plans call for competitions to benefit local student photography programs in Hong Kong and Chicago. 

The “Portraits of Peninsula” photos by Annie Leibovitz are available for viewing on and/or download at under The Peninsula Hotels.

The Peninsula Hotels operates luxury hotels in key gateways of Asia and the USA: The Peninsula Hong Kong; The Peninsula New York; The Peninsula Chicago; The Peninsula Beverly Hills; The Peninsula Bangkok; The Peninsula Palace Beijing and The Peninsula Manila. It is a division of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited which also manages The Kowloon Hotel in Hong Kong. 


Ms Sian Griffiths
Director of Communications
The Peninsula Hotels
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Telephone:  (852) 2315 3135
Fax :   (852) 2722 4170, 2315 3124

Also See: The Peninsula Hotels Names New Properties’ Management Appointments, Marketing And Communications Structures / July 2004
Strong Rebound in Hotel Performance During Second Half of 2003 Benefits The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, Significant Appointments Made within The Peninsula Hotels Group / Hotel Operating Statistics / March 2004

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