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Peninsula Hotels Launches ‘Portraits of Peninsula’

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.
  The service and luxury of The Peninsula Hotels is clearly recognized by
readers of these publications.  Recently, in Travel + Leisure’s August 2004
“World’s Best Awards” readers rated Peninsula hotels Number One in both the
United States and in Asia, while The Peninsula Hotels was voted the top hotel
brand in North America and overseas by Conde Nast Traveler readers in the
October 2004 Business Travel Awards.
  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.