Canadian Tourism Commission
The U.S. represents Canada’s largest in-bound travel market, but when the recession hit our southern neighbour, outbound travel went into steep decline.
The challenge for the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) was no longer to simply break through a crowded messaging marketplace; it was to show that international travel was affordable in the midst of the worst recession in history.
Through qualitative research, it was found that Canada was more of a “someday destination” – a long-term consideration. Americans were also consuming travel information differently. Fantasies to visit new destinations were being inspired by friends and online networks. The goal was to drive the consumer into the social space where they could join the conversation.
In television, user-generated content was used to tell a series of stories, for example in one :15 spot, we hear the infectious laughter of a kayaker and see his point-of-view as a seal climbs on top of his boat.
Print mimicked a YouTube page of a person taking a ride on a zipline and the header, “I haven’t screamed like a little girl since I was, uh, a little boy.” And in major newspapers including the New York Times, the front cover was taken over with “spadea” wraps that looked like an online blog including connection points and QR codes driving to the CTC’s social channels. The spadea creative also existed online where the content was live-linked allowing consumers to interact with long-form content and to connect across Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.
Empty storefronts in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were also transformed into social media platforms. Twitter-based murals featured interactive touchscreen interfaces that displayed tweets and photos from real travellers to Canada in real time. Consumers were encouraged to tweet back.
Consumer website visits were up 86% over same period in 2009 and Facebook fan sign-ups increased by 3,500%. The QR codes have garnered 4,539 scans to date. Just two weeks into the digital storescape campaign, the CTC experienced an 86% increase in Twitter followers. The work has also garnered extensive PR coverage.
Given all the success, plans to launch the program in Mexico and Europe are already well underway.