CTC tweets on the streets of New York

Targeting American travellers, the Canadian Tourism Commission has wrapped four storefronts in digital displays that aggregate social media mentions of ordinary trips to Canada.

Readers love travel stories because they provide a snapshot of an authentic experience – one that is easier to emulate than what is presented in postcard-perfect advertising. But for those who don’t have time to read lengthy travel features, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is aggregating vacation microblogs and photos of real people, and posting them on giant interactive displays in major American cities.

In order to inspire Americans to book a vacation up north, the four storescapes, developed by DDB Vancouver, show online conversations, images and videos to passersby in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The monitors also allow them to zoom in on comments of interests through the use of a touchscreen. Street teams carrying iPads encourage passersby to interact with the board and help them participate in the contest where they can win a trip to Canada by tweeting @keep_exploring.

‘People like to share what’s happening in their lives immediately,’ said Cosmo Campbell, creative director, DDB Canada, Vancouver, in a release. ‘The unexpected nature of the experiences that are being uploaded will surprise passersby and change their perception of Canada.’

While they are cautious about online postings, consumers like reading what others have to say when gathering information – more than 57% of Canadians said they find strangers’ comments on the web useful according to a recent study by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive.

Earlier this year, the CTC encouraged Canadians to share their travel experiences through social media and on Localsknow.ca, but some of the posts on the display include personal digressions like one that states: ‘During my stay in Canada the trees in my yard grew so I couldn’t go out by car but I trimmed them quickly in the rain. FUN.’

The interactive storescapes are part of a broader campaign encouraging Americans to travel to Canada this summer through the use of TV, print and online executions. OMD Vancouver handled the media buy.