CTV Travel re-branding pushes ‘escapist entertainment’

Getting viewers to tune in for practical travel pieces just ain't what it used to be. In an age when travelers are increasingly turning to the Internet for more practical travelogue-type info, CTV Travel is morphing into Travel + Escape, an Oct. 30 re-branding that adds more character, more edge and more 'experience-based' content for advertisers wanting to get in on adventure. GAP Adventure is the first to sign on.

CTV is about to re-brand its travel offerings in a big way. The CTV Travel channel will officially morph into Travel + Escape at 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 30, rolling out a new stylized logo (the name in black and blue text beside an orange and yellow winding arrow) and effectively launching 100 new hours of experience-based programming. A companion site, TravelandEscape.ca, will also go live on launch day with plans in development for special features and contests. The press package promises edgier, sexier, and more glamorous content that aims to ‘seduce viewers’ and become ‘the ultimate destination for escapist entertainment.’

Communications manager Jodi Cook says the change was initiated due to a viewer-driven impetus. Research showed that on CTV Travel channel, the most successful programs across both male and female demos were ‘escapist’ or ‘adventure-oriented’ in nature (i.e. Jet Set, Top Secret Beaches, World’s Most Dangerous Places, Creepy Canada). The new Travel + Escape will take this kind of programming to the next level, including coming premieres for Mayhem at the Manor, Uber Guides, Pleasure Zones, Living the Life, Dead Famous, and Legend Hunters. The programming is ‘experience-based’ as opposed to simply being ‘location-based,’ drawing viewers in with a more vicarious involvement with interesting characters who step forward to experience the exotic, luxurious and sensuous locales.

‘The channel has continuously evolved and we believe that its new contemporary identity is a perfect fit with this exotic, glamorous and experience-based new programming direction,’ says Paul Lewis, President of Discovery Channel, Travel + Escape, Animal Planet, Discovery HD and Discovery Civilization Channel.

Five years ago, the former CTV Travel channel was designed to appeal to males and females A25-54, but the last two years saw more males dominate the channel’s audience. While the re-branding strategy does not aim to exclusively or aggressively target the female demo, it seeks to draw in more of a balance between the sexes in the A25-54 range.

Top advertisers on CTV Travel included Procter & Gamble, Molson, Canadian Tire, Expedia, FedEx, Hume Travel, Ramada, Glaxo Smithkline, and Lexmark. The launch of Travel + Escape is starting strong with an inaugural contest deal with GAP Adventures, a sustainable tourism company that hooks customers up with travel adventures and started the Great Adventure People TV series in 2003. The contest, which taunts viewers with a trip for two to the Galapagos Islands, runs from the Oct. 30 launch until Dec. 3, coinciding with several Galapagos episodes set to air in November on Travel + Escape. The new channel will be ‘a natural fit with both travel-oriented advertisers, and with any other clients who are seeking an environment evocative of exclusive and adventurous escape,’ says Cook.

CTV’s in-house creative services team and on-air promotions team developed the entire channel package. Isaac Cheung is senior designer and Jon Arklay is director of CTV’s creative services department. Mike Earls is creative director and Alanna Barkley-Smith is director of CTV’s on-air promotions department.