Advertising gurus will tell you that the way to make your message resonate with consumers is to focus on the benefits not the features of the product. In other words, instead of telling the public the details of what your product can do, tell them why it matters to them. Why it's worth the time, effort and money to go out and get your product. Walmart demonstrated this lesson when they shifted from the slogan "Always low prices" to "Save Money. Live Better." Who doesn't want to live better?
A similar truth applies for advertising a tourism destination. Instead of focusing on amenities and stats – regardless of how impressive they may be – it's more powerful to tell the consumer about what experiences they can have at the destination. Tourism advertising should convey what the consumer can do and/or how they will feel. This can be accomplished in numerous ways, but one of them is definitely not to throw the word "experience" in front of the name of your destination.
Here are a few of the ways to sell the experience:
• It can be done through a clever and memorable ad campaign that helps people project themselves into the scene.(examples: https://www.twitpic.com/1fbdtq and https://www.twitpic.com/1c6paj)
• If the marketing vehicle is radio, television, a large enough print ad, a website or a brochure it can be done through powerful copywriting (example: https://www.michigan.org/Topics/Pure-Michigan-Ads/Default.aspx).
• No matter what the medium, a great way to convey emotion is through breathtaking and evocative photography. (example: https://www.upperjamesriverwatertrail.com)
Did I make it sound easy? I don't mean to suggest that it is. It takes time, talent, and a thorough understanding of the tourism market. When it all comes together, it’s a joy to behold. Not just because the results are artistically stunning or clever enough to make you smile, but because it works. Creative, targeted, smart advertising works every single time.
Note: Of the samples shown, the ad campaign for the Roanoke Valley CVB and the Upper James River Water Trail are the creative work of Inprint. Pure Michigan is not, but it is widely regarded as one of the best tourism ad campaigns running and definitely worth sharing. It may be because of the beautiful imagery, the great copywriting or the masterful voice work of Tim Allen.