Tourism PEI gets more social

A new campaign by Grey Canada uses a humorous approach, encouraging the 45-plus demo to go online to share horror stories from past vacations.

PEI Toruism is dropping the generic, postcard-perfect images that typically sell seaside vacation destinations in an extensive new campaign from Grey Canada, with the tagline: ‘The vacation you won’t need a vacation from.’ The multi-platform push also shifted the budget this year to weigh more heavily in online investments, including a social media portal launching in May.

The consumer insight-driven creative and the embrace of the specific, 45-year-old-plus target is also this year’s approach for PEI.

The TV spots, airing nationally on CTV and specialty channels, show a high-strung tour guide rushing a stressed-out bus full of vacationers through sights in Europe. One print ad, which will be appearing in magazines like Coup de Pouce, CAA and New York Times Travel, shows an unenthused couple in a conga line. The concept will be executed online later this month and in May on golf and culinary websites, as well as major news media sites, says Robert Ferguson, acting director, marketing, communications and sales, Tourism PEI. The Media Company handled the print and TV ad buys, while Aber Group orchestrated the online buy and GCI Group is in charge of public relations and social media initiates.

‘The TV is meant to make you laugh and smile and then visit the web,’ says Jonathan Careless, associate creative director at Toronto-based Grey Canada. ‘The print as well gets the bare essentials across and gets you to go to the web because the website is really where you can weigh through the information and find out what you need.’

‘We saw a better performance from our online activity last year,’ says Ferguson, adding that this year they are investing on a cost-per-action model (as opposed to cost per impression) with about $900,000 spent on TV and more than $1 million on online components. ‘It’s a very effective way for us to spend money,’ he says. The portal will be a place where consumers can build a community around sharing horror stories from past vacations, and will also feature social media drivers like Twitter and Facebook, and will be promoted through online advertising.

Running through the summer, the campaign aims to reach more than 1.2 million people, which is how many tourists the island hosted last year. Ferguson says their objectives are to increase visitors from the Quebec market by 2%, and maintain their share of room nights sold within the Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick markets.