Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism boosts spend to attract pent up demand

The province hopes to attract older, higher net worth travellers with a musical campaign.

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism is using a metaphor of “leaving no song unsung” to convey that locals live life to the fullest – something that makes the province an ideal travel destination.

With the latest iteration of the “Find Yourself” campaign, the tourism board is aiming squarely at Canadian travellers, in particular Ontarians, and playing up the concept of living without regrets in a spot that’s fuelled by song.

“Coming out of the pandemic has created a more philosophical outlook on life,” says Catherine Kelly, director of account management at Target, Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism’s longtime agency partner. The latest campaign is intended to be uplifting and authentic, but not ignorant of the reality people are feeling with continued lockdowns.

The ferries and airlines that bring people to Newfoundland and Labrador have been at their lowest demand levels, but things are perking up and rebounding, and Kelly says there’s pent up demand to travel.

For the province, more than 80% of travellers are domestic, she explains. Canada is its priority geography, and the bulk of visitors are from Ontario.

“We’re not necessarily a family destination,” Kelly adds. It’s people who have not had kids yet or are empty nesters, with higher than average household income and education.

Kelly tells strategy that visitors see themselves as sophisticated and experienced travellers, seeking more unusual places and experiences off the beaten track. “They are looking for an antidote to the stress and plastic composition of urban life and modern times,” she says.

The latest effort, a national 15-week campaign including TV, runs until end of April.

The campaign also spans national and regional newspaper, in-flight ads and a robust digital and social media campaign. The Globe & Mail is a national partner for several weeks. A regional buy kicks in halfway through with Toronto Star and key regional newspapers in Ottawa, Hamilton, London, St Catharines and Calgary. 

Target has held Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism’s account since 2005. The RFP process is every five years, and Kelly says it’s competed against “significant” Toronto agencies to retain the business. And Kelly says as master storytellers over the years, it’s been able to build momentum with stakeholders. She touts Target’s successes like doubling the population in visitors (more than 530,000), 2.5 million sessions on the province’s tourism website and a helping drive a $1.14 billion dollar industry.

When it comes to ad spend, Kelly says given tourism is such a critical industry, the government has invested more this year in marketing than it has historically.