Niagara wants to be the eighth wonder of the world

The digital marketing push also includes a new brand identity that promotes the whole region, not just the falls.

As part of a new brand positioning, the Tourism Partnership of Niagara is in the midst of a grassroots push to get people to consider Niagara Falls and the region around it one of the “Wonders of the World.”

In an push dubbed “#Claimthe8th,” the region has been arguing why it should be considered the eighth “Wonder of the World” using dozens of pieces of online content that’s being shared on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. The Partnership is encouraging Canadians to visit its website to vote and show their support for the initiative, as well as share their own memories of visits to the region using the campaign hashtag.

In addition to the main video, the are several shorter videos spotlighting things like the region’s nightlife, natural scenery and it’s food and wine culture. A series of videos and photo posts on social also demonstrate what the region has to offer compared to other places that are commonly considered “Wonders of the World.”

The campaign is being led by McCann Canada, which was named the Partnership’s AOR last summer. The content is being shared exclusively online to make the effort more of a grassroots initiative, with assets given to small businesses and organizations in the region to help promote it.

Though 75% of Canadians already consider Niagara Falls to be one of them, there is no “official” list of “Wonders of the World,” but Jody Larose, executive director of the Tourism Partnership of Niagara, says that’s part of the point of the campaign, and to get people to see the region in the same light as they would the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Great Wall of China.

“When the world wonder concept came up, we did a lot of research and saw that there isn’t really one authoritative body that controls those credentials,” she says. “It’s been entirely through pop culture and public perception. No one can say we aren’t a wonder of the world, and many assume we are already. So we’re just staking our claim as a way to position ourselves as a destination on par with the other wonders.”

Larose says the campaign is launching a new brand positioning for the region, moving away from making the Falls themselves the main attraction and instead showing the entire region as a destination comparable with any option on a global scale. She says one of the biggest challenges the region has had from a marketing perspective is showing potential visitors that it has more to offer than a simple one-time day trip.

“We have insights that says a barrier to returning to Niagara is the perception that once you’ve seen the Falls, you’ve been there and done that,” she says. “But Niagara is a global destination when you compare it to other world wonders and to any other leisure travel destination. It’s anchored by the waterfall, yes, but the entire region has incredible tourism experiences that measures up to destinations around the world. We’re an award-winning wine region, there’s history and heritage to learn about and we have spectacular scenery.”

Larose says the Partnership has previously played in traditional media for its marketing, and doing a digital-only push for the first time was an effort to do something different from the typical tourism ad featuring beautiful scenery, as well as being able to reach consumers who primarily make travel purchases online.