Ontario Tourism

Ontario obscures identity for teaser tourism campaign

Sidestepping the usual landmarks, Ontario shows off its undiscovered treasures

When the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) launched its latest campaign late last month, the province’s best-known attractions were nowhere to be seen. There were no sweeping shots of Niagara Falls or epic views circling Toronto’s CN Tower. In fact, the ad didn’t even announce the footage was shot in Ontario.

Instead, the teaser campaign crafted by FCB Toronto offered up a storm of quick-cuts that could have been shot anywhere in the world. Shots of women walking in saris through a temple were cut between crashing waterfalls, tree-lined landscapes and men dancing in feathered headdresses.

The ad asked: Where Am I?, and directed viewers to WhereAmI.com to submit their answers.

More than 30,000 consumers offered their suggestions online ranging from Africa to India and Iceland, according to Jeff Hilts, vice-president and creative director at FCB Toronto.

On July 2, the OTMPC revealed it was behind the spot, which was shot entirely in Ontario at locations including Prince Edward County, downtown Toronto, Muskoka and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. (Prior to the reveal, it had also teased clues on an unbranded Instagram page.)

For the second phase of the campaign, all of the creative has been updated with the OTMPC’s #DiscoverOn and “Ontario: Yours To Discover” branding.

Ronald Holgerson, president and CEO of OTMPC, said though it may seem like a risk to craft a campaign that doesn’t feature the province’s landmark attractions, he said the organization’s research had shown Ontarians were looking for new experiences within their home province. While the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and Parliament Hill are big draws for travelers from the U.S. and the U.K., many locals feel they already know everything there is to know about Ontario — a perception this campaign was designed to challenge.

“As we go through each campaign, every year, we do a lot of ad tracking that allows us to know what’s resonating,” Holgerson said. “We realized we had to change our creative strategy in order to resonate more powerfully.”

He added that the organization was inspired in part by the success of its previous #EpicIsOn campaign, also crafted by FCB Toronto, in support of the 2015 Pan Am Games. Both campaigns are driven by a focus on film craft, high production values and spirited, anthemic scripts.

The campaign is running through mid-September in Ontario and Montreal, with the possibility of an extension to other provinces and neighbouring states. PHD handled the media buy, which includes TV, OOH, online video and social media.

The TV spots are running on mass reach properties including CTV News, Breakfast Television, Ellen and Saturday Night Live and during Euro Cup soccer and Blue Jays baseball games. There are also 18 versions of the spots, each with the script read in a different language, airing on OMNI Television.

The OOH, meanwhile, is running in ONroute Centres rest stops and in Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square.

The spot was directed by Andrew Cividino, the filmmaker behind the acclaimed feature film Sleeping Giant. It is set to music by the Ontario indie band Bruce Peninsula and was edited by Marc Langley at Rooster Post Production.

The teaser spot pulled in over 2.6 million views in 12 days, according to the OTMPC, and led to a 32% increase in visits to Ontariotravel.net post-reveal.

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