CTC tours with Lay’s Chip Trips

A new boost to the Canadian Tourism Commission's 'Locals Know' campaign with Frito Lay and WestJet uses Olympic athletes to promote tourist destinations across Canada.

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is making travel plans with Frito Lay Canada and WestJet for this year’s leg of the $20 million ‘Locals Know’ tourism campaign. A new contest called ‘Gold Medal Getaways’ launched yesterday, featuring videos by Canadian Olympic athletes, actors and musicians describing their favourite places, which consumers can then vote on to win an eight-flight prize from the airliner. WestJet is taking over the sponsorship from last year’s airline partner, Air Canada.

Another new brand on board the tourism train is Frito Lay, which is simultaneously launching Lay’s ‘Chip Trips,’ a points program that offers online deals on food and accommodation for travellers.

‘Coming out of an incredible Olympic year, who better to use than athletes as our inspiration to share their greatest places?’ Gisèle Danis, CTC executive director of strategic marketing, tells MiC of the promotion, which used approximately 80% of the $10 million budget the CTC had to spend on marketing this year. Campaign partner Frito Lay is also supporting the summer tourism initiative with their own marketing efforts for their travel-themed Lay’s Chip Trip promotion.

‘Gold Medal Getaways’ is heavily focused on social media, including a hub-style account page that allows for photo sharing and tweeting of pics from Flickr and videos from YouTube, as well as links to the Lay’s ‘Chip Trip’ microsite deals and offers.

On the reason for the investment in online, Danis says ‘that’s where people are spending most of their time, that’s the path to purchase where we’re moving them down the cycle to book a vacation.’ The campaign, which was developed by DDB (with Radar DDB and Tribal DDB handling social media and online efforts, respectively) and with media purchased by OMD Canada, also features TV advertising which will hit the market in May, as well as a print component that will run through to the fall.

Last year, online traffic to LocalsKnow.ca reached a record in CTC’s web history, with 3.5 million page views and 650,000 unique visits per week, says Danis. There are almost 40 Olympic athletes and celebs promoting their getaways, including Alexandre Bilodeau, Joannie Rochette and Tessa Virtue.

‘We found that the country fell in love with these Olympic heroes,’ says Danis. ‘These guys travel coast to coast, so who better to sell the country?’

This article was updated at 3:30 p.m. April 30 to clarify that Frito Lay is conducting their own marketing campaign to support Lay’s Chip Trips, rather than contributing financially to the CTC’s Gold Medal Getaways promotion.