Lisa LaVecchia - President/CEO - Ontario Tourism Markerting Partnership Corporation
Debra Mansillo - Special Projects Manager - Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation
Michelle Borthwick - Director, Brand Management and Consumer Marketing - OTMPC
Julia Holliday, Director, Digital Marketing - OTMPC
Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts, Jon Flannery - Chief Creative Officers - FCB Canada
Jeff Hilts, Rob Dean, Cody Sabatine - Art Direction - FCB Canada
Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Dave Delibato, Joseph Vernuccio - Copywriting - FCB Canada
Sunil Sekhar, VP Management Director - FCB Canada
Sarah Banks, VP Business Director - FCB Canada
Violet Karbalaei, Skye Gandy - Account Team - FCB Canada
Rea Kelly, Sumit Ajwani - Producer - FCB Canada
Kinga Karadi, Michelle Simpson, Emily Watkin, Carly Roy - Project Management
Shelley Brown - Chief Strategy Officer, Sr. Planner - FCB Canada
Heather Segal - VP, Planning Director - FCB Canada
Liz Dussault, Harland Weiss, Donovan Boden - Executive Producers - OPC Production Company
Karen Harnisch, Marc Swenker - Line Producer - OPC
Andrew Cividino - Director
Joey Panetta - Photographer
James Klopko - Director of Photography
Rooster Post Production - Editing House
Marc Langley - Editor
Eric Dubois - Assistant Editor
Alter Ego - Post Production Facility
Eric Whipp - Colourist
Fort York VFX - Online Facility
Ernie Mordak - Online Artist
Melissa Vasiliev - Online Assistant
Jody Colero - Music Track Director
Jane Heath - Executive Producer
Vald Nikolic - Engineer / Sound Design
Anastasia Tubanos - Sr. Strategist - FCB Canada
Kristy Pleckaitis - Lead User Experience - FCB Canada
Shelagh Hartfod - Digital Strategist - FCB Canada
Tyler Turnbull - CEO - FCB Canada
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||June - December 2016|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||June, 2016|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||June - December 2015|
|Geographic Area: ||Canada|
|Budget for this effort: ||$2 - $3 million|
Ontario, Canada had a tourism problem. Travel within the province was in decline because Canadians thought they’d seen it all and that it no longer had the power to surprise them.
So we challenged that perception by asking them to answer a simple question: Where am I? This question was the beginning of a campaign that advertised an exotic travel destination on TV, online, cinema, print, and Instagram, but didn’t tell Canadians where it was.
Instead, we drove people online to guess where a built-in geo-guesser calculated how close or far they were – creating a virtual game of hot and cold. We revealed a new clue everyday for 10 days. And when we finally told them it was all in their own backyard? Overnight visits tripled and summer visits doubled – helping Canadians discover that they had lot more to discover about Ontario.
The job of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) is to drive tourism in the province of Ontario by positioning it as a world-class destination.
Tourism is a key driver of any economy and there are millions of dollars at stake. Competition is fierce as tourism organizations are constantly trying to position their destinations as the most exciting.
In such a competitive environment the most of the category takes a conventonal approach to marketing, highlighting all of the well-known aspects of a destiantion.
How do you get Canadians to get excited about travelling to Ontario? After all, when something is familiar, it’s only natural to take it for granted.
Ontario is no different. It conjures up images of Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, trees and lakes. For Canadians it all seems too familiar, too much like home, with nothing new or intriguing. The result is that consumers tune out of communications from the province.
OTMPC wanted to surprise Canadians with how much lies underneath the surface of Ontario. Instead of relying on familiar tourist destinations, we wanted to show people places they hadn’t seen before and surprise them with a different side of a place they thought they had figured out.
As an organization that represents a collection of smaller regional tourism organizations our primary objective was converting consumers to book packages with OTMPC partners.
To support conversions, the secondary objective was driving traffic to OntarioTravel.net – the central hub for tourism and travel in Ontario.
Travellers are looking for the new, different and unfamiliar; when something is less accessible it suddenly becomes more desirable.
Research revealed that when it comes to travel people are looking for the unfamiliar and seeking experiences that are new and different from where they live and what they know. This contradicted the conventional approach to tourism marketing of focusing heavily on the most well-known and famous landmarks.
We realized that in order to break through and change Canadians’ perceptions of Ontario, we would need to utilize a counter-intuitive approach and focus on all the people, places and experiences in Ontario that people DON’T know about.
We would build intrigue in Ontario as a travel destination by playing hard to get.
We created a campaign that didn’t reveal it was from Ontario and instead challenged Canadians to answer the question: “Where am I?”
Given OTMPC’s job of converting consumer interest into tourism dollars for partner organizations, we needed to create a fully integrated campaign that led consumers through the purchase funnel; from engagement to booking a trip.
Disrupting industry conventons, we launched with a teaser video that specifically did not reveal it was from Ontario. Viewers interested in learning the location shown were driven to social and a custom microsite where they could guess the location shown in the teaser.
After ten-days of building intrigue we revealed the location as Ontario, capitalizing on the buzz generated during the teaser phase with a 360 media campaign including Television, Cinema, OOH, digital and social.
We needed to build awareness and consideration of Ontario, amongst Canadians, as a world-class travel destination.
In order to breakthrough in a crowded category, against competitors with significant marketing budgets, we needed to find a strategic way to stand out.
A teaser campaign deliberately designed to build intrigue allowed us to drive interest in Ontario while positioning the province as mysterious, desirable and full of surprises.
To counter the bias against Ontario we needed to disrupt the conventions of the category. We changed the game in tourism advertising by not showing any recognizable attractions or famous landmarks - or even naming the destination.
Using the power of intrigue, we showcased the people, places and experiences Canadians didn’t know existed right here in Ontario.
On June 22nd we launched a ten-day teaser phase to the campaign using :60 second TV, video and social media (Facebook, Instagram) posing the question ‘Where Am I?’. This intriguing yet unfamiliar content crafted in the form of riddles drew people in and challenged them to answer the question.
The campaign drove to a consumer microsite, WhereAmI.com, where users could take their guess. A built in geo-guesser using Google Maps API created a virtual game of ‘hot and cold’ in kilometers. We revealed a new clue each day and watched as something amazing happened: 1 in 3 users returned to the site, and 48% came back twice. The virtual guessing game was a success.
On July 2nd 2016, we revealed that these incredible places and experiences were in fact in Ontario. We added cinema for drama and impact as well as display and :15s video to the channel mix to increase the depth and breadth of the campaign.
The power of surprise and intrigue surrounding this new and unexpected Ontario created a desire to find out more about the specific attractions and experiences presented in the campaign. We fulfilled that desire on ontariotravel.net where they could find all the details of what Ontario had to offer.
We launched Where Am I? with a two-phase media strategy.
We launched with a teaser campaign that ran from June 22nd - July 2nd. High-impact TV and online video created awareness around Where Am I? and led viewers to an online microsite where they could guess the location of the campaign.
To maintain engagement throughout the teaser phase new clues were released every day on Instagram and Facebook.
On July 2nd we revealed the location as Ontario. The teaser campaign gave way to a fully integrated media campaign that included TV, Cinema, OOH, social and digital display. We added cinema for drama as well as display and :15s video to the channel mix to increase the depth and breadth of the campaign.
Using high-impact creative we rewarded viewers with the answer to the question "Where Am I?" - Ontario.
By showing an unexpected side to Ontario the campaign engaged Canadians across the country and prompted them to reevaluate a place many thought they had figured out.
Participation with the campaign was extraordinary. 1 in 309 Canadians from 480 cities participated in the online guessing game, but only 13% got it right. Not even people in Ontario recognized Ontario.
In total during the ten-day teaser period the WhereAmI.com received over 60,000 visits. As we revealed a new clue each day, 1 in 3 users returned to the site, and 48% came back twice.
The campaign results were exceptional, delivering on our objectives of increasing travel to Ontario and traffic to OntarioTravel.
After the big reveal of Ontario, travel to and within the province increased dramatically:
- Overnight visits tripled.
- Summer trips nearly doubled.
- $32 million incremental visitor expenditures.
Traffic to OntarioTravel.net also saw a marked increased:
- Traffic was 23% higher during the campaign period over the previous year.
- A total of 243,000 visits were generated.
The campaign has been recognized by the industry as best in class and was named the 2016 Marketing Campaign of the Year by the Canadian Tourism Industry.
The campaign ROI was $7.32 for every dollar spent.
Where Am I? was designed to reignite intrigue and interest in Ontario and drive Canadians to reevaluate their impression of the province. Beyond the incremental sales generated by regions, destinations and tourism operators within the province the increase in interest (using OntarioTravel.net site visits and social comments as a proxy) demonstrate the clear impact of the campaign.
During the campaign period trarffic to OntarioTravel.net, the central hub of Ontario Tourism offering travel information and links to travel packages, increased by 23% over the same period during the previosu year.
Although an indirect measure, the campaign generated clear buzz with 48,000 social comments and reactions across campaign communications.
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:
OTMPC has a full calendar of marketing campaigns that run across the year. The budget to launch Where Am I? was consistent with previous campaigns (the year prior, 2015, OTMPC had a major marketing effort to support the Pan Am games).
Pre-existing Brand momentum:
Given the unique structure of the campaign, which launched without revealing the name of the location, we did not benefit from any brand momentum behind Ontario as a province. Instead the teaser campaign generated buzz by intriguing Canadians.
There were no pricing factors or other changes in communication that would affect our results.
Changes in Distribution/Availability:
There were no changes in distribution or availability that would affect our results.
Unusual Promotional Activity:
There were no alternative promotional activities occurring at the time of the campaign.
Any other factors:
The campaign launched in summer 2016, and did not benefit from the positive associations around the province, or travel to Canada, generated by being named New York Times' 2017 best travel destination.
The Canadian dollar, although slightly lower in June 2016 compared with June 2015, was consistent (or on average, slightly higher) during the remainder of the campaign period.