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Canadian Success Story Outside of Canada
Success Despite the Recession
OVERVIEW: Canadians find out that there is a lot more to Canada than they thought, and decide to spend their tourism dollars at home.
SITUATION ANALYSIS: Domestic travel is the largest tourism market for Canada, accounting for $59 billion in 2008. However, the full potential was untapped. In 2008, Canadians spent close to $30 billion on international trips. This was partly due to huge marketing efforts by international destinations, but on top of that, a great many Canadians felt that they had "seen it all/done it all" at home.
STRATEGY & INSIGHT: When Canadians were shown exotic, lesser-known spots across the country they were shocked at how blasé they had been. How could they not have known? This led to the insight that locals know any number of off-the-beaten-path spots that are worth visiting.
EXECUTION: The campaign launched in June 2009. Print ads featured places that did not seem like Canada at all: sand dunes in Saskatchewan; swimmers in the tropical-blue waters of Georgian Bay; Liard Hot Springs in BC. The visuals were accompanied by a simple question - Where is this? - and a call to visit Localsknow.ca. TV used 15 second clips of user-generated content: surfing the Lachine rapids; zip-trekking through the tree tops in BC; dog-sledding in the NWT; celebrity-spotting at the Toronto International Film Festival. A website created an online community where Canadians could come together, share their stories, and become the real insiders behind Localsknow.ca.
RESULTS: The campaign converted an estimated 2.7 million Canadian travellers, keeping an estimated $700 million of tourism revenue in the country, and helping save or create close to 6,500 jobs. When compared to the $8 million expenditure, this is a marketing ROI of 150:1.
CAUSE & EFFECT: In tourism, there are always external factors such as the economy and the exchange rate. However, given the size of the response, it's clear that "Locals Know" was a major factor in delivering the results. Gisele Danis, Executive Director, Strategic Marketing, CTC Domestic Program, described the effort as "CTC's strongest-ever performing marketing campaign."