Goosebumps. Misty eyes. A reborn sense of pride.
These reactions rippled through the room as Manitoba's new tourism marketing brand - Manitoba: Canada's Heart...Beats - was officially unveiled at a media event on December 12. Industry partners, business leaders and media were on hand as the first four television spots were played and the new campaign slogan was revealed.
"They have absolutely nailed it," said Manitoba Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Davidson. "This work will start to set us apart, and really define what Manitoba is and what we have to offer."
As the new campaign was introduced, Colin Ferguson, Travel Manitoba President and CEO, explained the journey that led to its development.
"The first step was to gain a better understanding of the two types of travellers that are the best match with Manitoba's offering, based on solid research purchased from the Canadian Tourism Commission," he said.
Winnipeg advertising agency McKim Communications Group then crafted a creative approach that would immerse prospective visitors in the Manitoba experience, with targeted messages that would resonate with our best prospects, in media they prefer. Industry input was sought throughout the process, as everyone worked together to find a distinctly Manitoban voice.
The result is a breathtaking series of television ads tied together by a powerful new slogan, in which every word serves a clear strategic purpose.
- Canada's: "We decided to put the word ‘Canada' right in the slogan because research shows that Canada is the second most respected brand worldwide," Colin explained.
- Heart: "The ‘heart' connection is pretty clear," he said. "We are the centre of the country, we are the heart of the country and we've got very warm, friendly, very welcoming people. We're paying tribute to that."
- Beats: "The word ‘beats' is really referencing the fact that we really have tremendous momentum going on in this province."
The big reveal drew plenty of media attention. "Manitoba's $1.4-billion tourism industry has a new slogan and a new swagger," reported the Winnipeg Free Press. Local broadcasters aired the spots on their newscasts and shared the news all day long.
One of the strongest endorsements for the new brand came from the well respected former CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission, Michelle McKenzie, who wrote:
"Manitoba has just launched a new tourism brand "Manitoba: Canada's Heart Beats." It is stunning. Not only is the imagery beautiful, but it is a terrific example of smart marketing. By brand-building on Explorer Quotient research they've ensured the brand is aligned with Canada's international tourism brand, and through consultation there were no surprises. And, perhaps most newsworthy, there is the link to trade. It will be a great tool for Manitoba's trade development, investment and economic development endeavours."
When it launches in April, the $2.4 million campaign will include television ads, international in-flight advertising and online advertising. Travel Manitoba will also run eye-catching promotions such as a station domination campaign in Calgary. A new website with state-of-the-art destination marketing software went live this month to provide more powerful follow-through for the campaign.
Target markets are Alberta, northwestern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with secondary markets in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
"Now we need you to join us, to make the beat louder and stronger, so it can be heard around the world," said Colin, as he urged industry partners to participate in collaborative advertising opportunities.
He also invited media to join the industry in harnessing Manitoba's new sense of optimism and turning it into action.
To learn more about the new brand and 2014 marketing campaign, and how you can be involved, visit Travel Manitoba.