In the increasingly competitive destination marketing landscape, small and mid-sized brands are leaning on unconventional campaigns in order to break through the noise. Two unorthodox campaigns have recently caught our eye, taking authenticity to the next level to create self-aware, self-deprecating, and cheeky campaigns.
A Sense of Adventure with a Dash of Self-Deprecation
Nebraska tourism’s “Nebraska Nice” campaign needed to be refreshed — for four consecutive years, Nebraska came in dead last amongst states piquing travelers’ interest. Taking an honest look at Nebraska, the state developed its new “It’s Not For Everyone” campaign — unpretentious, uncomplicated, and sprinkled with self-deprecating humor. Deb Loseke, Commission Chair for Nebraska Tourism, believes the campaign has legs with a brand strategy rooted in honesty, staying “true to who [they] are and honest about what [they] are not.” With little to lose, Nebraska’s newest campaign needed to be disruptive — resulting in a campaign that shattered people’s preconceived notions and created an enduring human connection with a message that taps into the stark honesty of Midwesterners. After launching “It’s Not For Everyone” in mid-2018, the state has seen an increase in travel guide requests, website traffic, and lodging tax collection. The big question remains: is the campaign inviting enough to relieve Nebraska from their dead last ranking? Fingers crossed for you, Nebraska.
Mundane but Mighty
Some cities have breathtaking nature, historical landmarks, or innovative architecture, and some have none of the above. In a Lonely Island-esque rap touting Mount Pearl’s average but quirky lifestyle, the Mount Pearl Anthem put the 23,000-person town on that map. As the second-largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mount Pearl “is not a big place, but what they do have is who they are: a small city with a strong sense of home and sense of humor,” according to Jason Hill, creative director at Target, the Newfoundland-based agency behind the campaign. Taking a refreshingly candid look at the quaint city, the campaign pokes fun at the “destination,” boasting mundane attractions like automated trash pickup, bingo night, and a great neighborhood watch. But the endearing honesty of the campaign combined with a “free parking everywhere” claim has us considering Mount Pearl for our next vacation. It’s too soon to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign as the brand dropped their anthem in June 2019, but since then the Mount Pearl Anthem has already amassed a significant amount of views on YouTube and has been picked up by numerous media outlets including a feature in AdWeek. And if this one gets stuck in your head, the Mount Pearl Anthem is now available on iTunes and Spotify. If nothing else, Mount Pearl is now on the radar of the destination marketing world.
Each destination’s specific goals are on display, here — whether looking to increase brand affinity or simply to build cheeky cache. As competition for travel and tourism share of voice explodes, we’ll be keeping a keen eye on how destinations continue to innovate.
Inspired to refresh your destination’s marketing? Streetsense’s Travel + Tourism division has the vision and expertise to deliver creative and effective destination marketing campaigns.
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