Wasaga1

Quebec campaign for beach town grows awareness on a budget

The quest to get young Montrealers to hit the beach on the Great Lakes

A recent strategy to raise Quebeckers awareness of Ontario’s Wasaga Beach region built the holiday destination’s brand significantly among young Montrealers despite a small budget.

The Town of Wasaga hired Toronto’s Headspace Marketing to attract vacationers from Quebec during the province’s two-week “Construction Holiday,” a prime vacation time that begins on the second-last Sunday of July. Headspace’s specific mandate was to increase awareness of the region and convince Quebeckers to consider a road trip there.

The challenge: according to results from a May Léger Marketing survey for CAA-Québec, only one in five Montrealers had plans to travel to Ontario this summer (and even fewer outside Montreal planned to make the trip). Moreover, most in Quebec had never heard of Wasaga Beach, which had a weaker brand identity compared to Ontario’s larger vacation destinations such as the Niagara region.

The third challenge was budget. With only about $25,000 for media and production, Headspace said they couldn’t afford a carpet-bombing approach.

The agency identified young, social Quebeckers as the best group to target, hypothesizing that they would be more likely to make spontaneous decisions about a trip, be more positively disposed to vacationing in Ontario and be more at ease if French was not spoken. (The agency subsequently backed up that hunch with a study by Decima Research for the Ontario Tourism Partnership Corporation and Industry Canada from 2006.)

Faced with the problem of how to distinguish Wasaga’s identity, Headspace went with a simple ad showing an attractive beach image and the tagline, “Pas de requins. Pas de dollars Américains. (No sharks. No U.S. dollars.)” The agency also put a spotlight on the fact that Wasaga boasts the longest freshwater beach in the world.

Headspace constructed a dedicated French-language Wasaga website, including a contest to win a holiday package to the beach. They also created a Facebook page and partnered with Bell Media to develop a radio program starting July 7 targeting the greater Montreal area with short spots on Rouge FM and NRJ (the latter reaching younger listeners especially).

Results

In online surveys of 300 Montreal area residents conducted the week before the campaign began and the week after, awareness of Wasaga Beach went from 38.2% to 47.6% among the 18-34 group in the two-week long campaign period. Intention to visit this summer or next also increased by 8%. The French Facebook site also attracted 1,000 followers.

“Awareness and intentions to visit increased significantly over the course of only two weeks,” said Eric Blais, president of Headspace.

Brands Articles

McCain’s new ad pushes versatility of fries – and fun

Creative showcases first major redesign for the company in more than 50 years

CMOs are being shut out when C-suites need them more than ever (Column)

Marketing has never been more important, but CMOs are often outside looking in

Following Shoppers Drug Mart’s dive into fresh

The retailer is adding fresh food to its offering. Is it just what consumers ordered?

Twist Image named digital AOR for Treasury Wine Estates

The WPP agency wins after a three-month, North America-wide review

Sport Chek goes grassroots with Toronto Raptors anthem

The retailer hits the court for the start of basketball season

O.B. tampons challenges women to ‘Give us one period’

Campaign aims to educate non-users and break down barriers to usage

Red Lion named AOR for Tbooth

Account win follows competitive review involving five unnamed shops

BC Hydro celebrates ‘Offtober’ with new campaign

This marks the Crown corporation’s first effort from Taxi Vancouver

Lowe’s tests customer service bots in the U.S.

Equipped with 3D cameras, the bots can scan and identify items