Over the last few years we, along with the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, have established a clear positioning for St. Louis. It’s a region that is truly cosmopolitan without the clutter: world-class attractions, restaurants and entertainment, affordable and ideal for families. In that time we’ve produced a strong slate of creative that is built on that strong foundation. All of that has served as the underpinning to establish STL as the perfect family fun getaway. And that’s what our new leisure campaign would focus on.
2014 was a challenging year for the St. Louis area, with a lot of attention for unexpected reasons. But it also provided a key opportunity to further define ourselves and separate from the pack. Therefore our marketing goal was to remind our audience about STL’s qualities as a vacation destination, and pitch it in a funny, confident way that connects with them by showing off the pure variety of fun things to do while here.
This meant a back-to-fundamentals strategy. In the regional, proximal markets we’d be advertising, St. Louis is viewed as a nice getaway to a larger city with activities and options visitors simply don’t have at home. Moms are seeking that gateway to a fun weekend, and want to be the hero. She’s the fun expert, and we wanted to imply a guarantee of a fun trip. That become our opportunity: establish STL as the Midwest destination of choice for fun experts. Blitzing through a family experiencing a wide array of exciting attractions, the messaging is carried throughout by an original song performed by a native St. Louisan. She’s traveling with this family throughout, singing about everything you can do while in town.
We targeted the vacation decision-makers—moms within a 250-mile radius who were looking to trade up and get away from a weekend with their families. But she’s not taking the same old, same old trip every year. She’s seeking out something different, and something fun. She’s the fun expert, and we wanted to give her some positive reinforcement.
We performed focus groups in three different markets from which we draw visitors: Chicago, Memphis and Indianapolis. In all three our regional strengths were confirmed: a healthy variety of options, exciting and full of fun activities, and a good value. Additionally, our media agency researched our target to see what she’s watching on TV and surfing online. Identifying relevant shows and realizing how engaged the target is on social media channels (primarily Facebook) helped us formulate a media strategy that would most efficiently deliver the message.
Considering our target’s already heavy use of social media, we deemed Facebook the perfect vehicle. Led by the fun new TV spot, the “Nonstop Fun” campaign aimed to differentiate St. Louis, marking it as the ideal spot for Midwest family fun. The spot wraps up with a challenge: Show us why you’re the #FunnestFamily and you could win a weekend of nonstop fun in St. Louis.
TV and online pre-roll viewers were then driven to an all-new St. Louis #FunnestFamily Facebook page where they could enter their photo to be entered into a promotion to win their own nonstop fun trip to STL.
Right out of the gate, the campaign was an outstanding success..
By capitalizing on heavy use of social media and picture sharing through Facebook, we saw our page gain over 9,500 original “likes” and generate over 36,000 total page engagements. Which, for a short, 60-day campaign with a modest budget, was music to our ears.
Our media plan brought us exposure across thirteen DMAs surrounding St. Louis, and we had over 84 million traditional media impressions, while garnering an additional 7 million through Facebook promoted posts and organic sharing. The contest submissions were hilarious, and we loved meeting our excited winning families.