Canada capitalizes on its tourists

The CTC makes Canada the first country to promote itself with tourist-generated video content.

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is helping Canada become the first country to use tourist-generated video content to market itself to the world. It’s part of the CTC’s 2009 global marketing strategy, which was rolled out at this week’s World Travel Market.

The campaign will include TV and online advertising that showcases videos shot by real tourists in Canada. The CTC scoured YouTube to find four 15-second spots featuring real-life travel experiences. In the clips, Vancouver kayakers get an unexpected visitor when a seal jumps into the back of their kayak; iceberg watchers see an iceberg crumble right in front of them; a man zip-lines through a forest; and a woman on an observation deck in Niagara Falls feels the water running below her. The spots end with the message: ‘Canada: keep exploring.’

Greg Klassen, VP marketing at the CTC, says the ads are designed to appeal to their target demographic, which isn’t age- or gender-specific, but consists of ‘learners’ – those who want an educational or culturally interesting vacation – and ‘enthusiastic indulgers’ – free spirits looking for something profound that they can brag about. ‘They look for authentic tourism experiences,’ Klassen tells MiC, ‘and we thought, what better way to convey [that] than by giving them authentic people having those particular experiences?’

The ads, which will appear on a variety of television networks and websites (such as CBS and NBC Universal), are airing in the UK and Germany now, and will soon be seen in the US, France, South Korea, Japan, China, Australia and Mexico. OMD Vancouver handled the media buys, and creative was done by DDB Canada’s Vancouver office. The campaign will run until mid-April 2009.