Tourism Nova Scotia slows down

The organization gets more strategic as it aims to attract advocates for the province.

Tourism Nova Scotia’s second iteration of the “If You Only Knew” campaign is slowing down to be more strategic, in an effort to bring more influential travellers to the province.

In a TV spot leading the campaign, viewers see a range of all the different things to do on a trip to the province, ending on the “If You Only Knew” tagline.

Other creative elements juxtapose some of the more well-known aspects of the province – like whales and sailboats – with some of the things people might not expect from the province, like vineyards and hiking trails.

DDB Canada and Halifax-based Trampoline handled creative on the campaign, with OMD on media. In addition to the TV spot, the campaign includes out-of-home, digital video and web banners. The campaign is targeting Ontario, Quebec and the Northeast U.S., as well as the U.K. and Germany through digital and trade marketing. Tourism Nova Scotia is also exploring the Chinese market, primarily through trade marketing.

The “If You Only Knew” campaign first launched last year, and Michele Saran, CEO of Tourism Nova Scotia, says it was the most successful tourism campaign the province has ever run. While last year was focused mostly on being disruptive with fast-paced creative that shows a range of different activities, the plan this year was to be more strategic and bring more of a focus to newer experiences the organization has created.

“We were taking a lot of time last year in the product development to create more experiences people want to have,” she says. “It’s been a building process as part of our overall strategy. The product development has influenced the marketing in year two, which has always been the plan.”

Saran adds that a major insight behind the campaign is the fact that most of its target already has a positive perception of the province and may have even pegged it as a potential travel destination, but need motivation to actually book a trip.

“They have a good feeling about it, but there isn’t a compelling reason to pull the trigger,” Saran says. “People don’t have an idea in their minds of what they are going to do once they get there. They know it’s friendly and has a nice reputation, but what is the itinerary going to look like once they get there?”

But beyond just attracting new travellers to the province, Saran says a major goal for the organization in the years ahead is to attract higher-yield travellers – people who are likely to spend more during a trip and be advocates for the province after they return home. So not only does the campaign showcase things like whales, lighthouses and lobster, it also brings in unexpected elements like the province’s wine region and surfing.

“We call them free spirits, the ones that do a bit more luxury, high end experiences, and that’s what we’re working on in product development right now,” Saran says. “They are known to spend more and be great advocates. It’s critical that you have those people who have that credibility out there advocating for you. That means creating experiences where you don’t just come and take a pretty picture of a lighthouse. We want to give them places they can spend money and tell their friends about it.”