Niagara Falls targets adults looking for some spontaneous fun

Who: Niagara Falls Tourism (Canadian) with Zerotrillion for strategy and creative; Merchant for productions and Smile + Wave for post-production

What: “Plan to be spontaneous,” a new fully integrated campaign for Niagara Falls Canada targeting adults, not families, (more on that below) on both sides of the border.

When & Where: Creative includes a 30-second spot, two 15s and static visuals with headlines like “make your next night out, a weekend getaway,” now running in both U.S. and Canada

Why: Niagara Falls Tourism aims to increase the visibility of its entertainment options and increase hotel bookings by advertising overnight stays and weekend trips to individuals who can easily access the destination by car. Choosing “spontaneity” as the theme of the campaign helps deliver the message that the tourist destination is accessible, even on short-notice.

Recent creative has focused on family interests, but the “plan to be spontaneous” campaign “points a laser target on couples and adult groups of friends,” said Zerotrillion’s managing director and chief strategy officer, Aubrey Podolsky. That being said, “it was a little bit more about the mindset and less focused on age demographic.” Removing kids from the equation allows the brand to hone in on behavioural offerings specific to adult consumers, like a trip to the casino and a visit to the spa. It also maintains a unique mindset around the overnight trip, one that “feels approachable and doesn’t require too much planning,” said Podolsky.

While previous campaigns have been more targeted towards Canadians, this campaign extends itself to anyone within driving distance, including tourists in the U.S.—who tend to have higher spend levels per visitor. “When I was there for the shooting, I spoke with dozens of Americans that had driven upwards of six hours to come spend a few days there, which is pretty incredible,” said Podolsky. “We were encouraging overnight visitation from both the Canadian and the U.S. side, with the catalyst for it being either a romantic weekend away, or a trip catching up with friends.”

How: The films utilize whip-pan shots to create seamless camera transitions from one scene to the next, following the characters to multiple destinations until they inevitably end their journey in a hotel suite. Their journey feels easy and immediate.

One set of videos features a couple, while the other depicts a group of adult friends. In each scenario, the films start at the beginning of a normal day, with one character asking an incomplete question, like “does anyone feel like…?” and the ensuing response a montage of their spontaneous, action-packed trip to the Falls.

The 30-second anchor spot features the couple in several local destinations. “We were trying to find a creative solution to showing a lot of the breadth of activities and destinations within Niagara Falls,” said Podolsky.

And we quote: “So much of summer travel is scrupulously scheduled in advance. So, by the time Fall rolls round, we could all use a vacation from our calendars. Being such an iconic destination so close to home, Niagara Falls is the perfect destination to embrace a more unplanned approach to travel.” — Braden Deatcher, associate creative director, Zerotrillion

Emma Johnston-Wheeler