#MarketingMasterminds: The creative brains behind the One Day in Cape Town and the Western Cape campaign
How did the idea for One Day in Cape Town and the Western Cape come about?
The tourism industry was among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 lockdown and still is. We couldn’t use traditional approaches to market the Western Cape as a tourist destination because people couldn’t book a holiday - we wanted to keep the destination top of mind for when people can travel freely again.
We came up with the idea of ‘One Day in the Western Cape’ to appeal to travellers and get them to consider the province. Our objective was to get people to actually dream about that “one day” when they can visit Cape Town and the Western Cape through giving them a taste of what they could experience if they were to spend one day in the destination.
It was a great opportunity to talk about the variety of experiences that one can enjoy, and tap into the ‘theatre of the mind’ – getting our listeners to imagine themselves in these beautiful places. It was also a way to support the local industry through this difficult period by showcasing our breath-taking province to what was essentially an armchair audience under lockdown.
Tell us about your campaign approach?
There were two main elements to this campaign: The podcasts and a visual, virtual tour of the Western Cape, facilitated by our tour guides.
Podcasts as a medium create ‘theatre of the mind’, the ‘Dreaming of One Day’ series was designed to tap into audio senses, making listeners literally dream of visiting the Western Cape whilst also giving them a tool to drift off to sleep and better manage insomnia and anxiety during the lockdown.
There was a lot of science involved in understanding how to influence people’s dreams. We came across the concept of lucid dreaming, where you encourage people to think about certain things while falling asleep. We created a series of calming, descriptive podcasts that used repetition of key visual features. The podcasts were used to paint pictures of specific places in listeners’ minds and get them to imagine what it would feel like to actually visit these places - one day.
For the visual element of the campaign, we used local tour guides to facilitate virtual tours, from their homes, via Google Street View. At the end of the virtual tours, viewers could scan a SnapScan barcode and make a donation to the tour guides in appreciation of the rich, immersive storytelling experience delivered by the guides. It was a great way to not only showcase the Western Cape and all it has to offer, but also to support the tour guides who couldn’t work during lockdown.
What platforms did you use?
We used different forms of content, ranging from quick, light engagements to longer-form storytelling. The longer virtual tours and podcasts were accessible on demand, and we used cut-downs and snippets from these to create shorter videos for Facebook and Instagram.
We also created calming animations that we paired with the audio recordings so that we could post them on social media. For example, if the cast was about whale-watching, there’d be a pod of whales floating across the screen.
And what were the results?
We were really building while flying with this campaign. It was launched in response to the tourism industry suddenly being plunged into a completely different world, with everyone trying new approaches. It’s also not something we could measure in conversation since travel and meditation are very personal experiences.
We were guided by traditional media metrics in that, if we spend X amount on a campaign, we expect to get Y results with a decent level of engagement.
There also wasn’t a big budget for media spend, so considering that we reached over eight million people across the campaign and recorded 1.3 million engagements across Stories, podcasts, and the virtual tours, we were pretty happy with the results.
There was also positive overall industry sentiment and a sense that yes, we’re all stuck at home, but we can redirect our resources and involve the tour guides in doing something tangible to get in front of people and to help the industry through these very difficult times.
Jean also adds, “I was particularly inspired by the King James team. They managed to pull this off with lead times that were unheard of, trying to work from home themselves and get through the crisis as an organisation.”
Were there any unexpected results?
“We treated this campaign as a sailboat to get us from one side of the lake to the other, but it turned into something much, much bigger,” adds Jean.
It won a Loerie Award and two Creative Circles, but probably the biggest achievement was winning Gold at the City Nation Place Awards, which is a big deal in destination marketing. To win against some of the best destination countries and marketers in the world, who have budgets that far exceed ours, is an outstanding achievement.
But for me, the biggest result was the transformation that took place. Together, we developed and adopted new ways of working that were so well-received in the industry that many businesses and guides plan to continue.
Do you have a stand-out memory from this campaign?
The beauty for me was the virtual tours, which inspired new ways to experience the Western Cape and opened up an entirely new way of working for our tour guides and the industry.
It was wonderful being able to redirect our marketing spend in a paid partnership with the guides and to put that money directly into supporting the industry during this critical time.
Through this campaign, 32 guides across the six regions in the Western Cape were able to generate an income during the lockdown. Their worlds were also opened to the opportunities and possibilities of digital travel as a medium. In fact, many continued offering virtual tours long after the campaign ended.
Will you be expanding the campaign?
This is a crucial year for the industry as it tries to get back on its feet. I’m excited for the next round of the campaign, which kicks off in May. All I can say is that there’ll be a big domestic tourism push as well as an international marketing campaign involving our tour guides.
From a creative perspective, it was fun to use the tools available to us in new ways and to use digital storytelling to link the tourism industry and their audiences. The more we can use the storytellers within our industry, like the tour guides, to directly engage with audiences, the better.
What was your biggest learning?
The whole campaign was a learning experience and we had to learn and adapt quickly as we went along. Take podcasts for example. Although it’s one of the fastest-growing digital mediums among Millennials, it’s still quite new in marketing, so we had to figure it all out.
This campaign was also a massive departure from the typical overproduced, over-crafted content that the industry is used to seeing. We realised very quickly in creating this content that it was never going to be perfect. It was recorded over Zoom so the quality wasn’t great and there were screen jumps, but the fact that it was imperfect added to the charm and realism of the overall campaign.
How can people get in touch?
To get in touch with Jean, you can contact az.oc.orgsew@gnitekram.