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Inspiring Future Travel with a Pandemic-Era Video Campaign

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, disrupting the entire world’s 2020 vacation plans, every industry faced radical changes. The tourism industry faced a rare dilemma alongside the challenges presented nationwide — how to encourage safe travel.

Our team set out on a mission in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to execute a campaign that better addressed the unease felt worldwide, along with building affinity for the majestic travel destinations Wisconsin has to offer future travelers.

We showcased extraordinary places that best highlight the splendor of Wisconsin via Slow TV. This video series initiative was intended to provide a sense of relaxation during a time of stress and doubt, inspire travelers for future trips, and delightfully surprise those who were unfamiliar with what Wisconsin has to offer.

The Challenge: Inspiring future travel in 2020

The pandemic changed or evolved our travelers’ behavior in media. Our audience was spending much more time online, particularly scrolling through social media and on YouTube, and we wanted to capitalize on it. With this insight, along with our data around previously successful campaigns, the Slow TV video series was born.

We had to determine how best to tell Wisconsin’s story of natural beauty in a long-form, poignant way to tourists who were both familiar and new to the Wisconsin travel scene. To structure a visual story that would stick with our travelers, we generated a list of our most surprising and awe-inspiring state assets — which became the themes for each video. The goal was to inspire travelers to spend time relaxing with stunning views right from their homes and promote longer video views as they visualized the possibility of seeing the magnificence in person someday.

Slow TV features places scattered across more than 15,000 lakes and shorelines in Wisconsin in the Endless Shore video and highlights the serenity of the rocky bluffs and rolling hills you’ll find in the Driftless Area.

Bringing this project to life required strategic editing to shorten clips and create a calm and atmospheric ambiance with the use of lighting techniques like light flares, fades, and color blocking. In total, five incredible four-minute pieces came together to tell one cohesive, seamless, and visually enchanting story.

During the development of these videos, we continued to evaluate consumer behaviors and evolved our promotion approach for this campaign accordingly. We strategically placed videos across digital channels to reach our target — along with taking a test-and-learn approach to see which channels drove the most impressions and longest view durations.

The Results: Impressive average view duration and cost per engagement

We used YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to share our Slow TV videos, and as DHS safety procedures began to change and loosen up, we optimized our paid sponsorships to include potential out-of-state travelers in Chicago and Minneapolis. In doing so, we were able to drive even more impressions and inspiration for Wisconsin travel while maintaining higher than average view durations and low cost per engagement throughout the series.

When the results rolled in, we saw more than 10 million impressions, a total of 431,000 views and an average view duration of nearly two minutes. This series was so unique, it was featured in The Wall Street Journal, which helped drive further success of the stories highlighting what Wisconsin offers. The series also inspired residents and past visitors, who shared fond memories and endearing comments across social channels, creating a stronger sense of community for future travelers looking for recommendations to lean on.

Slow TV’s success continues to drive in-depth storytelling considerations to immerse travelers in all the awe-inspiring magnificence Wisconsin has to offer.

Interested in discovering what an in-depth and interactive content piece could look like for your brand? Email Ted Jun (tjun@heibing.com) to schedule a call.