Yukon hopes to bring back tourists hungry for exotic travel

Who: Travel Yukon, with Cossette for strategy and creative, TSU North for production (Shaunoh McCrea directing), Gimmick Studio for animation, and Wave Productions for Music and Audio, with Jungle Media.

What: “A Different World in Canada,” a new campaign encouraging Canadians to consider the Yukon for a holiday this winter.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, running nationally until Christmas across TV, online, print and out-of-home. A summer-focused campaign will follow in the new year.

Why: Tourism is massively important to the Yukon, with 14% of all jobs attributable to the industry, said Robin Anderson, Travel Yukon’s global marketing manager. Of course, tourism was devastated by the pandemic. “At one point during the pandemic we were down 97% overall,” he said.

Now that restrictions have eased and people are considering travel again, Travel Yukon is hoping to attract Canadian visitors this winter. Many Canadians want to travel internationally because they want different and exotic experiences, and Travel Yukon hopes to tap into those desires. “Anecdotal feedback we get from visitors is that Yukon is on everybody’s bucket list, and it’s an experience and a place unlike any they’ve visited,” said Scott Schneider, creative director at Cossette.

The core message at the heart of the campaign is that the Yukon is unlike any place in Canada, offering a wide range of exotic travel experiences without leaving the country. It’s a different world, but in Canada.

How: Cossette and Travel Yukon opted to steer clear of traditional tourism marketing, which often relies on striking video of pretty scenery. Instead, the campaign’s anchor ad uses distinctive collage-style creative by digital artist Julien Pacaud.

“We didn’t want to just say that the Yukon is different and unique, and we didn’t want to create a typical montage of a bunch of beautiful landscapes,” said Schneider. “We wanted to create a piece and a campaign that is as unique and different as the Yukon itself.”

The spot features action and photographic elements, but put together in a different way, he said. “We really wanted to create some buzz around the Yukon, visually as well as the things that we’re saying.”

From a competitive perspective, other markets trying to lure back post-pandemic tourism dollars can lead with imagery of beautiful mountains, glaciers and picturesque lakes, said Anderson. “We have all that, and it is part of our experience. But we need to work harder against competitors that have much much bigger budgets than ours,” he said. “We want to make the Yukon stand out among the wilderness regions of Western Canada as something even more special, more exotic and more unique.”

The target: The sweet spot for Yukon tourism has traditionally been upper middle class, 45 to 65, said Anderson. But it’s really about a psychographic more than a demographic. “We call them learners,” said Anderson. They are people for who travel is very important, and believe they are enriched by exploring new and exotic places.

That said, research about travel intent coming out the pandemic shows that younger people are slightly more willing to travel, so they’re also going after people in the 30 to 35 range. “We think they’re ready to go a little sooner, and probably thinking about more exotic holidays a bit sooner as well,” said Anderson.

And we quote: “We know that Canadians do want to see and experience more of Canada, but they’re often drawn to visiting foreign destinations first, and the pandemic has intensified that… We wanted to tap into the appeal of a trip that offers distinct and exciting cultural experiences that might feel foreign to some, but are close to home and entirely Canadian.”— Ranj Pillai, Yukon’s Minister of Tourism and Culture.

David Brown