NWT Tourism brings the territory closer to the city

VR-equipped cars aim to give urban audiences a taste of what the region has to offer travelers.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to ride with reindeer, or guide a dog team, or experience some of the most majestic waterfalls in Canada’s north – without leaving major cities like Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary – you can, as Northwest Territories Tourism is making these experiences feel a lot closer in its latest campaign.

“NWT Will Change You” launches Monday in front of the Hilton Toronto, where people will get the opportunity to go around the city in a car equipped with 360° VR headsets and witness some of the Northwest Territories’ unique experiences and stunning nature.

“Human beings have this essential desire to learn more – learn more about themselves and exploring places creates a transformative experience [and] opportunity for them,” says Cathie Bolstad, CEO of Northwest Territories Tourism. “For people who are looking to have those transformative experiences, this is the place where you will find them, where you will be changed when you leave our destination. For us, ‘changed’ is a very positive experience. You go home richer, internally, you know more about yourself and you feel better empowered.”

Riders will get a chance to travel anywhere they’d like in the city, within a 10 km radius. They’ll also get a chance to be entered into a contest to go and see these places in-person, with a trip for two to the Northwest Territories up for grabs.

“The distance, it seems far away for everybody, and [to] make it much closer…things like virtual reality and letting them just immerse themselves in the experience to tantalize them a bit and get their tastebuds wet for coming here,” Bolstad says.

This campaign has been more than a year in the making, with the RFP process beginning in December 2018, Bolstad says. Northwest Territories Tourism’s agency of record is Outcrop Communications, a communications agency which has locations in the country’s three territories. Brand Momentum handled the experiential execution on the ground in the three cities. Bolstad adds that this particular campaign going into market cost was approximately $650,000.

Bolstad adds that the primary target for this campaign are individuals 45 years and older who have a household income of more than $100,000, “because we know the destination is a little bit harder for people to go.” The markets for the campaign were chosen because Tortonians are frequent visitors to the territory, and there are direct flights from Vancouver and Calgary.

The VR car will be in Vancouver Feb. 16 to Feb. 23, and in Calgary Mar. 23 to Mar. 31.