SAN FRANCISCO -- The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, in conjunction with agency of record VMLY&R, was recognized recently for groundbreaking work in tourism marketing. The team received six eTourism Summit Excellence Awards (also known as the eTSY Awards) powered by Expedia Group Media Solutions and Simpleview - at the eTourism Summit in San Francisco earlier this month.
Tourism marketing programs in 13 “unconventional but highly relevant” categories were judged by a jury based on the strategy, creativity and impact.
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s campaign, “Colorblindless Viewfinders,” earned top honors in the “Marathon Video Award” and “It Deserved to Go Viral” categories, which recognize long-form digital video content and top viral marketing campaign, respectively. The campaign also earned three Silver Lions at the 65th Annual Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity this past June.
The Colorblind Viewfinders campaign promoted the scenic beauty of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains in an innovative way. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development installed specially equipped viewfinders featuring the latest technology lenses for alleviating red-green color deficiencies, enabling color blind visitors to experience the vibrant fall foliage in all its glory for the first time, bringing some to tears. Video of their experiences generated national news coverage and earned millions of views on digital and social media channels.
“Sights & Sounds of Tennessee,” a multimedia experience at London’s Waterloo Station that was a cooperative marketing campaign of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Brand USA, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., Memphis Tourism, and Knoxville Convention & Visitors Bureau, earned top honors in the cooperative marketing category called “Other People’s Money,” and in the “Content King and Queen,” category, which recognized content marketing excellence.
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development installed a special “Sights & Sounds of Tennessee” kiosk at London’s Waterloo Station. The display virtually transported 275,000 daily commuters to Tennessee, giving them an opportunity to stand atop a giant map of the state and use headphones to listen to music recordings and other sounds one can experience only in Tennessee. Using their mobile devices, visitors also accessed corresponding websites that offered 360-degree videos of the Great Smoky Mountains or popular music venues in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville.
The campaign also included an out-of-home advertising campaign, a music partnership with Spotify and evening music concerts featuring artists including Tennessee’s Gill Landry and 2017 UK Americana Music Association Artist of the Year Yola Carter.
Tennessee’s Snapchat Concert Series won in the “Riches in Niches” niche marketing category. The series used Snapchat as a “virtual box office” to provide free tickets to music events featuring artists Garth Brooks, Kelsea Ballerini and Third Man Records recording artist Margo Price among others.
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development worked with each music artist to create specially-curated content about Tennessee that appeared on Snapchat and other social media channels to promote the state as a music experience destination. The campaign received 9.7 million Snapchat Views and 1.2M Earned Media Impressions and 921,000 active engagements.
The “Great Day in the Smokies” campaign featuring digital influencer Anna Liesemeyer of In Honor of Design, won in the “Peddling Influence” category for influencer marketing excellence. Liesemeyer and her family created a series of real-time television commercials in the Great Smoky Mountains to reverse false public perceptions the entirety of the Smokies and the surrounding areas was destroyed by the November 2016 wildfires. A camera crew followed the family’s adventures to create real-time broadcast tourism commercials by shooting, editing and airing a new commercial every day for four days in a row.
The campaign, targeting the Atlanta market, received more than 7 million views online, generating a 5,488 percent increase in traffic to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development website compared to the prior reporting period. The campaign not only helped the public see their favorite Sevier County attractions were still standing, but also resulted in them booking trips to the Smokies, resulting in positive tourism growth for the region.
Other eTSY Award categories included the “Reality Check Award,” which honored top virtual or mixed-reality videos; the “ADHD Video Award” for short-form video, the “Live From…Anywhere Award” for live video; the “X-Ray Vision Award” for campaigns based on data insights; the “Spam-Me-Not Award” for best e-mail marketing campaign; “Post with the Most Award” for the social media marketing campaign that achieved the greatest reach; and the “Where the Magic Really Happens Award” for the best destination marketing website.
# # #