Drivers traveling along San Diego’s Interstate 8 in Mission Valley may find themselves laughing at one hotel’s marquee which, rather than featuring room rates, is often riddled with funny one-liners.
“There’s no way that everyone was Kung Fu fighting,” the large marquee in front of Town and Country San Diego at 500 Hotel Circle North recently read, riffing on the 1974 disco hit by Carl Douglas.
The marquee – highly visible from the busy freeway along a lodging-dense area called Hotel Circle – is seen by thousands of commuters every day. The messages sometimes include puns about conferences, as the hotel often plays host to those types of gatherings.
“Procrastinators conference postponed,” read one of those meeting-themed marquee messages.
“Welcome archery conference: free ear piercings,” stated another.
“Hokey pokey convention: come in and turn yourself around,” seemed like a particularly proud pun; the hotel posted a photo of that marquee masterpiece on its Facebook page earlier this week.
While other hotels in the highly competitive west Mission Valley area may be using their marquees in a more traditional business sense – to advertise amenities and sell rooms – Town and Country's quirky alternative is getting the hotel some limelight. "The New York Times" recently took notice, highlighting the hotel’s playful marquee in its “California Today” section.
The hotel said it’s been experimenting with the fun on its marquee since spring and the messages have been well-received by passersby. Some people call, email and even stop into the hotel to give thanks to the staff for the daily laugh, a hotel spokesperson said.
“It is easy to put up an advertisement that promotes our specials on our marquee, but then we’re just another hotel in the Circle,” said Stephanie Hinckley, Director of Marketing and Sales. “By using clever puns and sayings, we are able to engage our community and make more of an impact. The most rewarding part is getting the emails and calls from commuters saying that our puns get them through their morning and they look forward to see what we are going to post next.”
The marquee is part of the hotel’s ongoing mission to help guests “find their fun.” In addition, the Town and Country has added a few more quirks to its property: 100 lawn flamingoes, 60 giant rubber ducks that float in a fountain and 24 pool floats shaped like unicorns, doughnuts, and flamingoes.
So, for whoever changes out the letters, the pressure is on. Make us smile, please.