CTC bows massive media push to get Canadians to explore their native land

With over $8 million in media spending, the national 'Locals Know' ad campaign, developed with involvement from every province and territory as well as industry partners, launches today, and spans print, TV and online with hopes of stimulating the economy.

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is launching an eight-week advertising campaign across the country today. With special stimulus funding from the Government of Canada and participation from travel industry partners, the national tourism marketing org’s ‘Locals Know’ integrated ad campaign encompasses print (Maclean’s), TV and online, all handled by DDB, and has locals from coast to coast sharing their area’s best-kept travel secrets.

The CTC is spending $6.3 million to buy ad space, Laura Fairweather, director, global PR at the CTC, tells MiC, with its partners contributing nearly $2 million in additional funding to the media spend. ‘Due to the large spend given by the stimulus program – we were able to lower the cost to advertise in major dailies – the incentive of these great rates have attracted almost every province across the country to amplify their existing marketing programs. In fact, the program sold out within days of it launching.’

Almost all provinces and territories, as well as industry partners like Air Canada and Aeroplan, are participating in the national program. Air Canada is introducing a special travel offer for the duration of the campaign to stimulate travel within Canada, and one Canadian will win one million Aeroplan Miles to inspire them to see undiscovered areas of the country.

‘The majority of the [campaign] spend is a media spend to advertise to Canadians to get them to explore their country,’ Fairweather tells MiC, adding that ‘the national advertising campaign was designed to compliment existing marketing programs across the country – not to replace them.’ Existing assets like photography, video and websites, Fairweather explains, were leveraged to execute this program, and industry partners also provided assistance with the photography, packages, offers and video services.

The campaign aims to convince the approximate 4.25% (235,000) of Canadians who travel outside the country, as well as CTC targets, described as ‘Free Spirits, Cultural Explorers & Authentic Experiencers’ to travel in their own country. The campaign also hopes to convert its secondary target – Canadian families who travel within Canada – to travel within their own city/region/province/country and spend money on tourism-related attractions like days at the zoo, museums, festivals, national parks or weekend getaways.

A microsite encouraging Canadians to upload photos of their favourite places and experiences has been created as a landing page and repository for both partners and helpful citizens.

‘We developed a tier model to allow those that can afford to pay to play and those who cannot to participate for free by showcasing their products on our website,’ says Fairweather. ‘The model was developed so that everyone could benefit and take advantage of being involved – from players like Air Canada and Fairmont Hotels to the small and medium-sized operators, like the kayaking and hiking and fishing outfitting companies and B&Bs.’

The CTC will invest $10 million per year in the next two fiscal years to support the tourism industry and stimulate Canada’s economy.