Tourism Yukon brings a 91-metre piece of Indigenous art to life

The tourism board is speaking to those seeking "transformational" travel by amplifying culture that's often overlooked by the rest of the world.

TY-RAVEN_STILLS-2Tourism Yukon is going after domestic and international travellers who want a deeper connection with the places they visit.

Working with Tlingit Formline artist Megan Jensen, a member of Yukon-based Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, Travel Yukon created “The Art Show of Winter,” a cinematic short narrated in Lingít, an Indigenous tongue spoken in the province, telling the Tlingit story of how Raven brought light to the world. As the story is told, Jensen uses 15,400 snowshoe steps to complete a 91-metre wide piece of art that illustrates the story, which took 11 hours to complete and 60 drone flights to capture on video.

The spot was filmed on location in the traditional territories of the Carcross Tagish and Kwanlin Dün First Nations and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Tourism Yukon agency partner Cossette led creative on the campaign, working with Indigenous-owned, Whitehorse-based production company TSU North.

“What we try to do with this content is highlight the unique culture of the Yukon territory,” says Scott Schneider, CD at Cossette’s Vancouver office. “The Yukon is home to 14 First Nations, so we thought that highlighting an Indigenous artist and that part of the culture is one of the reasons people come to the Yukon to explore that and to learn about it.”

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The main target, Schneider says, is a segment of travellers looking for more “transformative” experiences, in which they can really connect to a region’s culture. With Indigenous culture being so strong in the Yukon, it was important to highlight it.

When Cossette first signed on as the tourism board’s agency, Schneider says the positioning was focused on “bucket list” travellers and “don’t wait for someday” messaging. Since then, its evolved to still be centred on talking to people who may be considering the province, but more by emphasizing what is unique about the Yukon (which many travellers do not know a lot about) and what makes up its culture (which many travellers do not often consider when it comes to the country’s least-populated territory).

But there’s also an element of the campaign geared towards those whose do know a thing or two about the Yukon, and might be interested in connecting with it a bit further. Narrating the spot in Tlingit is meant to speak directly to the Tlingit community and those across North America who may have roots within it, with the video serving as an educational resource to help them pass the language alive.

“We’re trying to give people a Yukon experience from afar,” Schneider explains, given the current COVID environment. “Even though people can’t make it to the region, they can still make that connection.” Other pandemic marketing Tourism Yukon has done includes jumping into the at-home fitness craze, creating an Instagram campaign that helps people stay active via workouts set against the Yukon’s stunning landscapes, reaching out to younger adventure seekers. 

The campaign is largely social-driven, with pre-roll and email newsletters.