*American Advertising Awards - Integrated Marketing Campaign - Gold & Best in Show (local level)
In 2013, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) partnered with 360i to go beyond the beads and transform the way travelers viewed the city affectionately known to locals as “NOLA.”
Research revealed that prospective visitors were excited by the city’s rich history and bottomless well of cultural experiences, so our strategy was to show the real New Orleans through immersive, digital experiences tailored to our core target, the ‘experiential discoverer’— a segment defined by a mindset that's open to uncovering new experiences and exploration at every turn.
Shifting 50 percent of its budget to digital, NOTMC launched an integrated program, called “Follow Your NOLA,” to showcase the deep-rooted dimensions that are at the heart of the city’s vibrant culture. Prospective travelers were encouraged to live like a local via an interactive map on an experiential website (http://www.FollowYourNola.com) that inspired travelers to navigate New Orleans’ true soul: parks, historic sites, museums, shops and more.
Execution: Supporting the site were several executions that further brought to life NOLA’s unique culture: custom content partnerships with sites like BuzzFeed, Flavorwire and Pandora; digital PR that tapped family-minded bloggers and multicultural influencers to act as local tour guides; social activations across all channels; inspiring TV advertising that drove to the online experience; and more.
Results: The campaign has garnered more than 600 million impressions, with the city’s website experiencing a 20 percent increase in visits year over year. Buzz from the effort has helped people see the city in a new light, with Conde Nast Traveler calling New Orleans “one of the top cities in the U.S.” and the Daily Beast ranking NOLA as the No. 2 most “aspirational city” in the country.
Moreover, visitors are exploring the city more than ever. Research indicates that repeat visitors are experiencing many more events on subsequent visits and business visitors have extended their visits to enjoy the cultural offerings of the city. As a result, New Orleans is enjoying one of its busiest tourism seasons in a decade, tallying $4 billion in visitor spending during the first half of 2013 alone.