Putting a face to Canada

The latest tourism campaign from Destination Canada offers Americans an Instagrammed slice of northern life.
destiantion canad

When Americans think of Canadians, we tend to come across as a bit bland, a bit too similar to them. That is, when they think of Canada at all.

That’s the problem the latest campaign by Destination Canada and DDB are hoping to address.

The social campaign, with a media buy in select U.S. cities, features 17 different videos, each trying to show off Canadians. The videos present crowd-sourced Instagram images in rapid sequences to create short films that tell different stories about Canada.

“It’s really not about showcasing the place and the geography of the country,” says Michelle Kitchen, executive managing director, DDB Vancouver. “Americans want to know more about the people. They’re fascinated by Canadians and what we’re about.”

The video offers a slice of Canadian life similar to another DDB campaign for the Canadian Tourism Commission back in 2012, which invited Canadians to capture video from across the country that was super-cut into a single spot.

The push targets young urban travellers and taps into the growing frustration many Americans  feel around their home country, Kitchen adds. Post-recession, these tourists are a bit vacation-starved, but are also tired of the political strife that’s taken hold of the country. It’s also comes at a time when increasing threats abroad due to terrorism or health concerns, such as Zika, are making Canada a more attractive destination (while we might be seen as boring, we’re also seen as safe, Kitchen says). All the while, it’ never been cooler to be Canadian (sort of), since we can claim Drake, the Weeknd and Trudeau as our own.

The social push is exactly where the target demo lives, Kitchen says. What’s more, those who are travelling are turning increasingly to digital platforms during their research (with many turning to social for recommendations from friends and family), so a traditional media buy didn’t make as much sense.

The campaign soft-launched back in April, though the bulk of the media push, handled by OMD Vancouver, only began last week and will run through the end of the summer.