What happens when a prospector takes on a camel? More than 180,000 people are reached by a social media campaign. Travel Manitoba's Roadside Madness pitted 32 of our province's favourite roadside attractions against each other in a series of head to head votes over the course of nine days at the end of March. Taking inspiration from the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, we used Facebook and Twitter to promote the campaign, urging people to vote for their favorite monument on our new manitobahot.com blog.
In all, the campaign garnered 183,600 page views and 75,757 votes which saw Flin Flon's Flintabbatey Flonatin take the crown over Glenboro's Sara the Camel. In addition to the social media reach (102,994 on Facebook and 62,900 impressions on Twitter), the campaign was featured in traditional media across the province:
- Ace Burpee Show on 1031 Virgin Radio, including a 10 minute segment on Tuesday, March 24
- Daily features on CBC radio's Up to Speed
- CTV Evening News
- The Metro
- The Winnipeg Sun
- The Brandon Sun
- CKDM radio in Dauphin
- CFAR radio in Flin Flon and the local paper, The Flin Flon Reminder
Travel Manitoba's Social Media Specialist Kirsten Neil - the brains and wit behind the Roadside Madness campaign - was invited to Flin Flon to award Flintabbatey with a certificate celebrating his championship at a special Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
"Being a northern community, any recognition we get, it's great," said Karen McKinnon, Flin Flon town councillor. "I always say that Flin Flon is Manitoba's best kept secret and this helps to bring more awareness of what's happening up here."
And Flin Flon definitely got recognition from the campaign as our Roadside Madness blog posts were visited by people from every province across Canada, US states including California, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, New York and Hawaii. We even had visitors from as far away as England, Germany, Dubai, Israel and Malaysia.
Karen said that could be attributed in part to locals calling and emailing people from around the world who have a connection to Flin Flon and urging them to vote.
"It wasn't organized, it's just how it went. When our community gets together, it's unbelievable," she said. "It was such fun."
In the end, the final vote was very close, with 52% going in favour of Flin Flon's namesake. But Sara the Camel took the loss with grace, as the town of Glenboro sent Flin Flon a congratulatory note and gift basket - a perfectly Manitoban ending to this story.