Destination Marketing Campaigns: What’s new?

Montreal Festimania

Montreal’s 11 summer festivals already draw some 3 million visitors (out of a total 6 million visiting the city during the summer). But Montreal is now building on these key tourism assets, with the goal of becoming North America’s premiere festival destination by 2015.

This year the festivals, held between mid July and mid August, are being collectively marketed for the first time as “Montreal Festimania,” a concept inspired by Scotland’s famed Edinburgh Festivals.

The Festimania concept was a natural, given Montreal’s reputation for offering “the best of Europe and North America” and the logic of pooling resources across its wealth of festivals, says Isabelle Hudon, chairman of the board of Le Collectif de Festivals Montréalais, the nonprofit collective organizing and marketing Festimania. The festivals span virtually every cultural activity imaginable, including film, comedy, theater, circuses, design, art and a wide variety of music.

The first-year efforts for Festimania (a three-year pilot project) aim to build awareness of the city as festival destination, as well as boost ticket sales and of course tourism revenue throughout Montreal, by attracting visitors from four primary markets: Quebec, the rest of Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

The Collective created a campaign of international scale on a small budget (about $1 million, nearly all spent on marketing, according to Hudon) by leveraging the impromptu musical humor and popularity of YouTube star Merton, social media and a contest.

Merton (always sporting a green hoodie) spontaneously composes humorous songs on his piano about each person he “meets” in cyberspace, based on their images and comments. His first video in March 2010 went viral, to date generating nearly 8.8 million views.

For each event, multicolored installations that resemble the prism design of the Festimania logo were set up in areas within the city. Within each was an iPad linked to a computer being used by Merton in Montreal. Through Skype, Merton (seated in front of Festimania branding elements) engaged with the iPad users and then endeavored to persuade them, through song (bringing in the festivals’ highlights), to attend Festimania.

To feed viral activity, entrants who “like” Festimania invite their friends to join via email invitations, or get friends to enter the contest through a posting of their entries on their Facebook walls, get additional chances to win. The contest was promoted during the Merton four-city events via the distribution of “regular” lanyards bearing the entry Web site’s URL.

The March-posted “Merton Loves Montreal” video has so far drawn more than 332,000 views, and both that video and the early May “international stunt” have generated many millions of media impressions and posts/tweets.

In just a few weeks since launching the contest, Festimania has added about 1,000 Facebook fans, and the contest has drawn 1,200 entrants.

Festimania also has its own YouTube page, which is drawing views of videos that highlight the festivals’ activities, as well as more views of Merton’s March video and a new Merton video song message about Montreal recorded during the international promotion.


Panama Tourism Authority launched global campaign

The Authority of Tourism in Panama (ATP) launched the advertisement campaign that will promote the Isthmus as a first class touristic destination, in a public event that took place before the authorities of several touristic guilds, the media and special guests.

The campaign seeks to emphasize the main touristic wonders of our country, for which five (5) exciting commercials that present the beauty of its beaches, the cosmopolitan Panama City, the exuberant nature, the different ethnic groups that are still living throughout the whole country and of course, the main worldwide touristic attraction that is: The Panama Canal.

The campaign emphasizes the connectivity and ease of access to Panama, which makes it the eighth most important air hub in the world and one of the main crossing points of America, which is evident in the commercial closings: “with more than 80 destinations, Panama is always close to you”.

The advertisement strategy has five different commercial versions for TV in English and Spanish, which will be advertised in the United States, Latin America and Europe in global media networks. The graphic campaign will be broadcasted in traditional media as well as in several social network sites that are currently the ones with the highest amount of users and visits like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

“When this administration started two (2) years ago, we dedicated our efforts to the promotion of Panama in the exterior with various strategies which have obtained excellent results, while the analysis on the travelers’ interests was performed. We wanted to be sure that our campaign was well focused.” said Salomon Shamah, General Administrator of Tourism in Panama.

Switzerland Tourism Facebook Campaign

Switzerland Tourism created a new Facebook campaign in response to study findings that revealed that mobile devices cause tension in relationships.

A new Mobile Workforce Report from iPass found that 29% of respondents indicated that mobile technology creates tension in their relationships, and that 44% of mobile workers keep their smartphones at the ready within arm’s distance when they go to sleep.

In the Switzerland Tourism Facebook contest, you can win a week with full board (excluding drinks) in a Swiss mountain cabin with 10 Facebook friends if you provide a written continuation to the clause: “A week in in the mountain cabin would do me good because … ”

There will be seven winners (plus 10 Facebook friends each) chosen, and Rohner hiking socks and Victorinox Swiss army knives will be handed out to 93 other winners.

The tourism board explains that the more supporters of your application you get the greater are your chances of winning, and you can also boost your Facebook friends’ chances by supporting their applications. (If you win, you can choose your Swiss mountain cabin mates from among your supporters.)

The hitch is — you’ll have no Internet and mobile reception during your stay in the Swiss mountain cabin.


Wisconsin Launches “fun” new summer campaign

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism launched its new summer marketing campaign last month in various markets across the Midwest around the creative platform of “fun.” The “Picture the Fun” campaign is meant to inspire travelers in Wisconsin to discover and share their idea of fun this summer.

The campaign will run in markets across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa, and feature TV spots, radio spots, print and digital ads, out-of-home marketing efforts, public relations, social media executions, and advertising with the Chicago Transit Authority.

Additionally, campaign extensions will run on and the Department of Tourism Facebook page and Twitter feed throughout the campaign, and will include: notable guest bloggers with ties to Wisconsin; a “Summer Fun Report”; and a “Picture the Fun” photo contest. Free Travel Wisconsin iPhone® and Android™ apps are also available for download and help travelers find local attractions, lodging, dining and recreation throughout the state.

Harvard Business School report revealed, “70 percent of all [social] actions are related to viewing pictures or other people’s profiles.” Also, Facebook, a top social site for travelers, is most often used to share photos and video. The “Picture the Fun” campaign is built on the popularity of sharing photos on social networks.

“The State of Wisconsin is well-positioned to really separate itself from the competition with this campaign,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “The Department of Tourism’s primary focus is to market the state and grow the tourism economy, ultimately creating jobs through effective marketing. The creative platform we’re rolling out will enable us to effectively compete for tourism dollars and meet those objectives.”
Research showed Wisconsin held a unique position in that travelers across the Midwest not only viewed Wisconsin as a fun destination but also judged it more fun when compared to other states competing for the same traveler dollar. The Department of Tourism made the strategic decision to build on the equity in an effort to differentiate the state.

Additionally, results from the Department of Tourism research showed that fun was also mentioned time and again as the lead motivating factor for leisure travel among tourists, which lead to the campaign’s communications focusing on fun moments, stories, activities and events consumers can see themselves in.

Nova Scotians star in regional tourism campaign

Talented Nova Scotians have won an opportunity to star in the My Nova Scotia regional tourism campaign. They are featured in television commercials airing in the Maritimes throughout the summer.

“The My Nova Scotia campaign has been a great success,” said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. “We are very pleased to have had almost 400 talented Nova Scotians participate in the contest, and many more show their support, either online or at the auditions. Their passion and enthusiasm for our beautiful province will make potential visitors from around the world realize they must come and see Nova Scotia for themselves.”

Each week, for 21 weeks, different people will be featured. Some will also be included in a regional newspaper ad campaign. Each commercial will highlight the best festivals, events and experiences to enjoy in Nova Scotia this summer.

Winner Elyse Delaney, a singer and performer from Cheticamp, called the My Nova Scotia contest a wonderful learning experience.

“I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to promote the beautiful province I am proud to call home. I always look forward to seeing new faces and I know that they will always remember their time here in Nova Scotia, and hopefully come back.”

Contestants were invited to participate in the My Nova Scotia campaign by uploading their own videos, or auditioning at one of 14 events that took place across the province this spring. To view all commercials, go to,

VisitBritain launced its ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ programme

VisitBritain, Britain’s national tourism agency, has announced the launch of its ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ programme in conjunction with its four-year global ‘Britain You’re Invited’ campaign.

The ‘Britain You’re Invited’ campaign is backed by a public-private partnership funding of £100 million ($162.7 million) and aims to attract and invite visitors from all over the world to visit and explore the destination, said a statement from VisitBritain.

Karan Johar, top Bollywood filmmaker, Asha Gill, well-known Asian TV presenter and Alex Hua Tian, leading 2012 Olympic, Paralympic Games Event Riding candidate were introduced as “Goodwill Ambassadors” by Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain’s chief executive.

Speaking at the launch, Dawe said, “Britain welcomed over 4 million visitors in 2010 from the Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa region. These travellers spent approximately £4.5 billion during their travel to Britain. As one of our major growth regions, Asia will be a key area for the global roll out of the ‘Britain You’re Invited’ campaign”.

The three Asian goodwill ambassadors all share one thing in common – they were all, in some way, inspired by Britain in their respective fields, remarked Dawe.

VisitBritain has revealed plans of introducing its ambassadors in June, launch a television advertising campaign in September, and initiate a stimulus programme for the visiting-relatives market in October.


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