CASSIES Grand Prix: Newfoundland captures travelling hearts

Target hits the mark with Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism's "Find Yourself," a campaign that delivered rock solid results in difficult conditions

GRAND PRIX • GOLD: Sustained Success

Situation Analysis: Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) is off the beaten path, and it takes a determined effort to visit it, especially during tough economic times. Deterrents include the fact that the only way to get there is by air or sea, the summer season (June-August) is only about 75 days, the weather isn’t great, the Canadian travel market has become increasingly competitive, and the strong Canadian dollar has encouraged overseas travel.

Strategy & Insight: British writer G.K. Chesterton said “The traveller sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.” The NL target doesn’t see themselves as tourists, but as sophisticated travellers seeking an antidote to the plastic composition of urban life. For such an audience, the deeper the feeling they have about a place, the stronger the motivation to visit. The campaign launched in January 2009, with the primary focus on Ontario (GTA and Ottawa), while secondary markets included Calgary, Halifax and English-speaking Montreal.

Execution: The campaign romances the almost spiritual experience of being in NL, vs. showing an inventory of places to go, sights to see and things to do. Television was the cornerstone, featuring the people, architecture, history and stunning natural beauty. Newspaper ads ran in key markets, addressing travel barriers and further romanticizing the stories being told on TV. Multiple online executions, including expanding big box ad units, closed the loop for those wishing to research/plan their escape.

Results: For 2009, the Canadian travel market fell 7.1%, but NL’s automobile/airline visits increased 1.5%, and overall tourism revenues climbed 1.4% to $374.6 million. For 2010, visits increased 6.4% to 518,500 and tourism revenue rose 9.6% to $410.6 million. For January to June 2011, automobile/airline visits rose another 3.3%, setting a new record.

Cause & Effect: Spending levels were not a factor, with the annual spend in 2009/10 lower than in 2008. There was no unusual promotion or pricing activity, and the two main “external” forces moved in an unfavourable direction – i.e., over the course of the campaign, the Canadian dollar rose more than 20% against the U.S. dollar, and the price of oil doubled, putting extreme upward pressure on the price of gasoline and air travel.


Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism
director of marketing: Carmela Murphy
manager of advertising
& communications: Andrea Peddle
advertising officers: Denise Seach,
Brett Thornhill

CD: Tom Murphy
creative group head: Jenny Smith
ADs: Bruce Hamilton, Jeff McLean
writers: Jenny Smith,
Terri Roberts, Randy Diplock
digital imaging artist: Dejan Vucicevic
producer: Heikki Kuld
group account director: Catherine Kelly
account director: Ernie Brake

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