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What US National Park Are You?

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Insight

The destination marketing organisation Brand USA aimed to tie a strategic, measurable marketing campaign to the release of a new film while taking advantage of the impactful movie footage that showcased the breathing beauty of the national parks. 

The organisation also wanted to track which consumers interacting with the campaign had or had not seen the film already, so the team built a mandatory check box users filled out prior to interacting with the content. 

The target regions were chosen based on markets that the organisation identified as areas with strong traveller potential. In addition, facing competition from the iconic national parks in Canada, the destination marketing organisation knew that leveraging an important milestone such as the centennial anniversary of the US National Park Service would provide a compelling call to action. The special commemorative year in the history of national parks attracted travellers to visit the parks highlighted in the campaign and celebrate the natural beauty that has been preserved for a century.

Strategy

Through a strong partnership that has grown over the last five years, Brand USA and Expedia have worked together to create programmes that grow America's share of the global travel market.

In 2016, the destination marketing organisation launched "America Wild: A National Parks Adventure," an immersive IMAX® 3D film, which was released in giant-screen theatres around the world. The film highlights more than 30 National Parks, captures the stunning beauty of the nation’s great outdoors and commemorated the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. Leveraging the film and supporting content, the team wanted to attract travellers from Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico and the UK to visit the US and its beautiful national parks.

Through the longstanding relationship, Expedia became the first global sponsor and exclusive online travel activation partner for the film. With this exclusive partnership established, the team understood that they needed to use a creative and multifaceted approach to effectively promote the film and inspire international visitation to the US. They developed “What US National Park Are You?,” an interactive five-week digital campaign and video quiz that incorporated stunning clips and visuals from the film. 

By including film footage, the campaign showcased the film, brought the national parks to life and engaged with travellers in a personalised way.

Execution

Last year marked the centennial anniversary of the US National Park Service and to showcase the natural beauty within the US, the film took viewers on the ultimate great outdoors adventure. Produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and narrated by Academy Award® winner Robert Redford, the film featured stunning imagery that the team was able to use as the focal element of the campaign, creating a cohesive message across all consumer touchpoints. 

With the film footage included, the campaign quiz become more than just your standard survey. The quiz was composed of five questions with 10-second clips from the movie, which proved to be perfect amount of content, engaging thousands of users across the target countries.

For each quiz question, travellers were shown two different video clips and asked to choose their preferred experience. Once the quiz was completed, the user’s ideal US national park was revealed and they could enter a sweepstakes for an opportunity to win a trip to that national park. Users could explore additional content to learn more about US national parks and monuments, share their quiz results with friends on social, and even book travel. 

To maximise exposure, the quiz was available on mobile so users could engage with content on-the-go. The holistic campaign—which seamlessly ran on the partner’s travel brand sites in the five target countries —also featured homepage takeovers, creative ad displays and social media integrations across their social channels.

Results

The film was successful in capturing people’s imagination around the world and showcasing the beauty of the US national parks. The global film release was the largest opening release for a giant screen film in recent history and in addition to the 1 million pre-sale tickets, more than one million people bought tickets within the first 10 weeks of release.

As a result of the partnership, the ‘What US National Park Are You?’ campaign was a resounding success. With nearly 52 million impressions and more than 370,000 total participants interacting with the quiz in the five-week campaign period that began on April 20, 2016, the campaign generated an impressive triple-digit return on ad spend. From becoming the first global sponsor, to the creation of digital content and the interactive quiz, the partners seamlessly worked together to inspire international travellers and promote the film.

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