The Late Movies: Holiday Inn's "Mark" Campaign

Jason English

Today's edition of The Late Movies is not sponsored by Holiday Inn, but you probably couldn't tell the difference. When I worked in advertising, I used to cut out, photograph, record, and download ads and commercials I enjoyed. This Holiday Inn campaign featuring comedian Ross Brockley, which I recently found on an old laptop, was one of my favorites.

The campaign, called "Mark," was launched by Fallon in March of 1999.

A 2000 Brandweek article described Mark as "a 37-year-old slacker who lives with his family and argues that kids should stay free when his parents ask him to pay rent."

According to IMDb, Brockley was in a movie last year called RSO [Registered Sex Offender.] He played the ex-roommate. He also played a character based on himself in the 2004 Sarah Silverman/David Cross web series Pilot Season. (Here's a clip.)

I don't know much more about Brockley, so here's a little Holiday Inn history: Kemmons Wilson opened the first Holiday Inn in Memphis in 1952. By the end of that decade, he owned an exploding chain of franchises.

But Holiday Inn isn't exactly the great American brand you might think it is. In 1988, the (British) brewers of Bass started buying up Holiday Inns. The company eventually got out of the beer business and switched its name to Six Continents PLC, which later morphed into InterContinental Hotels Group, which has its headquarters in Denham, Buckinghamshire (outside London) and currently owns all Holiday Inns.

In 2001, Mark and the campaign moved into the Holiday Inn to promote their business services.

I'm going to start calling people "e-thinkers."

Here's Mark working on his book, When the Wheels Come Off. This one's my favorite.

There may have been more ads in this series, but that's all I had on my hard drive. Rock on, brothers and sisters.

Reader MJM has pointed us to Ross Brockley's blog, 'Brockley Farmaceuticals.' He's an organic farmer in Nebraska.