Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Appealing to Tourists via Branded Entertainment

A new article by Simon Hudson takes a closer look at the use of branded entertainment by destinations, using the ‘Brand USA’ campaign as a case study. The article, published online first with the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing (see link below), was co-authored with Vincent Tung, an assistant professor at Hong Kong Poly. Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, used three media platforms to promote the country, partnering with television, film, and digital content producers to present engaging stories that would attract international tourists. In one of the initiatives they launched a website in London accepting confidential television ideas from producers. Following an external committee selection, entries were shortlisted to three, and the first program to be produced was Extreme Frontiers: USA, which was broadcast in the UK on Channel Five late in 2013. Produced by director Russ Malkin, owner of Big Earth, the four-part series followed well-known thrill-seeker and adventurer Charley Boorman, whose expedition began in Hawaii before he and Malkin travelled over 8,000 miles across 22 states. Brand USA developed a dedicated web page on their consumer website (discoveramerica.com) for the show featuring video excerpts from the series, photographs, and links to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. On the website were also links to travel information (including an interesting 'Tune Your Trip’ site where visitors could customize a trip to the US) and a link to the show’s own website. The program was sold globally and appeared in over 90 territories, but as a result of the program being broadcast in the UK alone, EagleRider created an, ‘Extreme Frontiers Guided Tour’, of which they have already sold 60 packages. EagleRider was an official sponsor of the show, giving away an all-inclusive guided motorcycle tour via a sweepstakes competition to kick-off their partnership with Brand USA and Extreme Frontiers. For the full article, go to: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10548408.2015.1008671

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