“I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for you.”
“Bodett told Adweek in 2003, when the campaign was 17 years old. “I think everyone will know when it’s over, but it never seems to be over.”
“AdAge magazine calls “the greatest ads of all time.”
General Information & Facts:
Born: Thomas Edward Bodett, February 23, 1955
Raised in Sturgis, Michigan
Moved to Alaska in 1976.
Tom Bodett, logger and deckhand
Married – 1978 : Debi Hochstetler
“For five years he had been corresponding with his old high school sweetheart, Debi Hochstetler, a slender, blue-eyed woman who was about to look for a job as a high school art teacher. He began to write her ardent letters, pleading with her to come to Alaska. “I just took a chance and moved out here,” says Debi, 33. “Best writing I ever did,” says Tom.”
Home: Homer, Alaska
“There’s a spot 12 miles and two ridges outside Homer, Alaska, which is about as far from civilization as you can get without a passport, where the only sounds heard by recent visitors have been of beavers turning trees into pencil stubs, moose trampling through the brush—and, of course, the incessant jangle of Tom Bodett’s telephone.”
Regular Contributor to “All Things Considered” on NPR
Hired by the David Fowler of the “Richard Group ad agency — located in Dallas — to do a commercial for Motel 6
The line, I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for you.” was done as an adlib line.
“David Fowler hired him because Bodett ‘sound[ed] like the kind of person who stays there.'”
“There’s a fiddle and a soft guitar playing in the background, and up front is a voice that sounds familiar, even if you’re hearing it for the first time. “You know, in some ways, a Motel 6 reminds me of one of those big fancy hotels,” says Bodett, sounding a little like a homegrown Paul Hogan. “They’ve got beds, we’ve got beds. They’ve got sinks and showers, by golly we’ve got ’em too. There are differences, though. You can’t get a hot facial mud pack at Motel 6 like at those fancy joints. And you won’t find French-milled soap or avocado body balm….Under 21 bucks in most places….We’ll leave the light on for you.”
Price of a night’s stay was $6.00 in 1986.
30 Years later (2017) Motel 6 is still using Tom Bodett’s voice to promote its brand.
Motel 6 is the largest owned-and-operated hotel chain in North America.
Key Illustrative Thoughts:
• The Church: Leaving The Lights On
• unexpected fame
• “There I said it . . . . .unburdened
• all time best
• it put us on the map
• improvised success
Other Information & Links:
In a 2007 AdAge magazine interview, Bodett said . . . ”
“For the record, and at the risk of exposing myself as a complete fraud, we don’t actually leave the light on for you. We just say that to be friendly. You have to turn it on yourself once you enter the room. There. I’ve said it. Hmm … I feel oddly peaceful, unburdened.”
He also stated in that interview . . . ““you don’t need to have art on your motel room walls because your eyes are closed anyway.”
Stan Richards of the Richard’s Group — “Motel 6, Tom Bodett and the Ad Campaign That Put Us on the Map” :
We were close to canceling the session when someone finally spoke up: “You know, if it’s late at night, I’ll stay at a Motel 6. And I can save enough money by doing that, I can spend it on a tank of gas.”
Someone else in the room, encouraged, offered, “I do the same thing. And I can save enough to bring a gift to my grandchildren.”
The Motel 6 confessions continued. It occurred to us that this was simply a group of people who did not want to be perceived by the others in the room as being cheap or poor. As they traded stories, their initial embarrassment transformed into pride. They didn’t stay at Motel 6 because they were cheap—they stayed there because they were frugal.
There was our simple answer: We would extol the virtues of frugality. — muse
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