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Pop Culture Marketing in Tourism

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These days, pop culture rules the world -- particularly when it comes to marketing. And the travel industry is no exception. Pop culture tourism is officially a thing. From 50 Shades of Grey hotel …

These days, pop culture rules the world -- particularly when it comes to marketing. And the travel industry is no exception. Pop culture tourism is officially a thing. From 50 Shades of Grey hotel packages to Game of Thrones tours, the smartest brands and destinations are capitalizing on hot pop culture trends to attract travelers and earn media attention. Here, we look at some of the best and brightest tourism campaigns, the savviest brands and the smartest ways to take advantage of the trends.

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  • 1. Pop Culture Marketing: How to Maximize the Hottest Trends for Your Destination
  • 2. What You Need to Know • What is pop culture marketing? How does it play into tourism? – Pop culture marketing through the decades • How you can jump on the proverbial bandwagon, even if you‟re not a filming locale (yet!) • How destinations can create pop culture ties via social media – Best ways to stay savvy – pop culture tracking and awareness • Case studies – Gatsby, 50 Shades of Grey and Game of Thrones • Brainstorming – what assets of your destination can you sell to trend-savvy tourists?
  • 3. What is Pop Culture Marketing, Exactly? These days, pop culture is everything. And with the advent of social media, trends are spreading quicker than ever, inspiring consumer behavior and big-time spending in the blink of an eye. But pop culture and marketing going hand in hand is not a new phenomenon. For decades good advertising has influenced society and vice versa, and that‟s a bandwagon you want to jump on! As a brand and a destination, it‟s to your benefit to stay on top of what‟s hot. By capitalizing on trends and patterns in media and entertainment, you can up your city‟s numbers and put those proverbial heads in beds. From Game of Thrones-inspired tours to Breaking Bad souvenirs to Great Gatsby parties, destinations are raking in the visitors and the cash. Next up – you!
  • 4. Visitors Use Social Media to Make Travel Decisions Statistics show: • 76% of travelers worldwide use travel review sites to plan their trip • 48% of travelers worldwide listen to family and friends for advice on trip planning • 93% of travelers worldwide say booking decisions are impacted by online reviews (*Source: Trip Advisor Trip Barometer study 2013)
  • 5. Social Media is Going Visual • With the rise of Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and other visual, photo and video-heavy mediums, imagery is the wave of the future. • Brands score big by utilizing visuals – particularly travel brands.
  • 6. People Dig Images
  • 7. Stats! • • • • • • • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don't. (Source: AnsonAlex) Visual content drives engagement. One month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content (photos and videos) saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured) Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. (Source: Shareaholic) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. (Source: comScore) Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer) 44% of social media users are more likely to engage with a brand or a product if they post a picture. (Source: ROI Research) Why do people love images? What makes a powerful image? Discuss.
  • 8. Case Study - Cavendish Hotel London – Vine Valentine Campaign • This hotel was an early adopter of the Vine video platform and launched a Valentine‟s Day contest asking users to submit romantic vids via the hashtag #ValentineVine • Winner scored an uberromantic package for the holiday
  • 9. They received all kinds of creative submissions – plus press mentions galore How can your destination utilize short video in an innovative way? Discuss.
  • 10. Case Study – Texas Tourism Travelin’ Texas Board • This statewide CVB created a board as a community effort with city CVBs. • By collaborating, each CVB‟s Pinterest account is able to gain additional exposure by adding to the robust (and extremely popular) shared board. • The board has 10,410 followers, and is a group effort between more than 15 CVBs, and many of the pins receive 30+ repins.
  • 11. Their pins are popular, with some being repinned 70+ times How can your destination create boards that showcase unique assets? Discuss.
  • 12. Tourism Brands Killing It With Visuals
  • 13. Tourism Australia - Instagram
  • 14. More than 151,000 followers • Their photos are breathtaking, and showcase a whole host of assets across the destination. They are obviously frequently out and about taking shots – as well as reInstagramming images from other users. • Many images receive 10,000+ likes and hundreds of comments. • They actively utilize hashtags and frequently mention other Instagrammers.
  • 15. Visit Savannah - Pinterest
  • 16. 25,000+ Followers and Lots of Boards • They have 43 boards, and it‟s obvious that a lot of time and energy goes into their cultivation. • Most boards are shared efforts, and for some they actively accept requests from individuals and organizations to share in the pinning. • Their pins are creative, and they‟re not afraid to get a little off topic or find unique twists on Savannah culture, from a Paula Deen board to a running board to a board dedicated to doors. • They utilize a distinctive and friendly voice – and that goes for all of their social media platforms.
  • 17. Explore Georgia - Vine
  • 18. Showcasing the State • They‟ve hosted contests. For example, they just held a “Homegrown With a Twist” video contest, where they solicited videos demonstrating what people love about Georgia. • They showcase different assets, from sunflower picking to museum exhibits to specific properties. • They highlight stakeholders and mention them by name via their social media handles.
  • 19. Anatomy of a Meme • Memes are a way of spreading shared experiences and cultural norms – primarily through humor. • Memes can be images, videos, gifs. • Memes can also be thoughtful. • Memes can be created by companies or come about organically – the key is harnessing something the public can relate to. • What makes a meme or video go viral? Discuss.
  • 20. Successful Meme Examples Funny Meme: Dos Equis creates Most Interesting Man in the World character – he goes viral as a meme and brings additional attention to the brand Viral Video: Couple sings amazing karaoke on Jay Leno‟s Pumpcast segment – video goes viral, couple makes the rounds on national TV. Turns out they‟re actors, but that doesn‟t take away from the video‟s success.
  • 21. Successful Meme Examples Broad topical meme: “said nobody ever” memes are widespread and can repurposed across a whole host of topics Beautiful imagery/quote meme: By pairing a picturesque image with a meaningful quote, these memes are perfect for showcasing a destination or location
  • 22. Pop Culture Marketing Through the Decades Since the advent of advertising, companies have managed to launch memorable campaigns that become an integral part of pop culture in their own right. These slogans and campaigns became a part of the lexicon – both influencing and being influenced by mass culture. The good news? Nowadays, memes can accomplish the same thing without the necessity of spending millions on an ad agency.
  • 23. Diamonds Are Forever • Frances Gerety wrote "A Diamond Is Forever" for an advertising campaign for De Beers in 1947, and wrote all of the company's ads for 25 years. • “Diamonds Are Forever” was such a ubiquitous phrase it became the name of a James Bond flick.
  • 24. Where’s the Beef? • Where‟s the Beef?” was so popular the little old lady from the commercial recorded a single.
  • 25. Pardon Me • “Pardon Me, But Do You Have any Grey Poupon?” was famously parodied in Wayne‟s World.
  • 26. Got Milk? • The “Got Milk?” campaign has featured every major celebrity known to man and spawned countless spinoffs/copycats .
  • 27. What’s your favorite ad slogan or campaign ever? How have you seen it influence pop culture or vice versa?
  • 28. No Films? No Worries. • When it comes to tourism, pop culture marketing often piggybacks on a destination where a film, TV show or book was set. But even if you‟re not lucky enough to have the latest Hollywood blockbuster set up shop in your city, there are plenty of alternatives. • You can utilize pop culture trends to promote various aspects of your destination – and show the world how your city, state or county is the new hotness. This requires getting creative – but you‟re creative geniuses – you can do it!
  • 29. Work with Film Commission • Communicate with the State Film Office: – Work with the State Film Commission by being "film friendly" - take a proactive stance towards encouraging filming. – Develop relationships with the major film studios, international and local PR companies and advertising agencies.
  • 30. The Boom of Pop Culture Tourism • Vampires & Zombies – Vampires and zombies inspired millions of travelers to cure their blood lust by retracing the steps of popular fictional characters. • Twihards invaded the tiny town of Forks, Washington. • True Blood fans visit Shreveport, located near the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. • Fans of AMC's Walking Dead and the movie "Zombieland" searched for the undead in Atlanta.
  • 31. Coweta County Tourism “The Walking Dead” • In March, the AMC show “The Walking Dead” aired its episode titled “Clear,” which was filmed entirely in Grantville. The locations included in the episode were the Mayor‟s home and the historic freight depot. • The freight depot was transformed into the King County Cafe. Throughout the episode, viewers could also see some of the unique buildings located in Grantville, including the roofless ruins of the city‟s former cotton mill. • Since that episode aired, tourists from other states and even other countries have traveled to Grantville to see sites featured in the “Clear” episode. • In response, the Mayor has been offering free tours for those traveling to Grantville to see the locations from the show. • According to the Mayor, the tours and the people they are bringing into Grantville have already attracted two new businesses and created other jobs in the city.
  • 32. Pop Culture Vacations • Duck Dynasty (before their recent controversy) wasn‟t just bringing high ratings to A&E, the show was also bringing tourists to West Monroe, Louisiana where the Robertson family lives and films their reality series. • To make things easier for those tracking down the Robertson‟s local hangouts, the tourism board has created the “Official Duck Commander Hometown Tour.” • The tour includes an online brochure with 26 locations featured on the show, including the Duck Commander Store and Warehouse, Haskell‟s Donuts, Debbie‟s Snowballs, and Danken Trail.
  • 33. Keeping Track of Trends To utilize pop culture trends, you have to be in the know. 1. Be social media savvy. 2. Follow top influencers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what they‟re talking about. This is KEY. 3. To attract the public‟s interest, you have to know what the public is talking about.
  • 34. Tip #1 1. Know the hottest movies, books and TV shows at any given time – and have your team brainstorm weekly ideas surrounding them – hotel specials, destination-wide watch parties, themed FAM tours, etc.
  • 35. Tip #2 2. Find creative ways to newsjack, or jump on the bandwagon of a new trend or topic. Real time marketing is an excellent way to do this. – For example, during the season finale of a popular show, you could create a real-time meme that ties together your destination and the show‟s plot. People love to see witty, off the cuff marketing efforts.
  • 36. Tip #3 3. Wrap a deal or campaign around a pop culture trend or occasion. – For example, if a popular show is airing its finale, announce that you‟ll offer a special deal or package IF something specific happens, IE, a character dies, gets arrested, etc.
  • 37. Tip #4 4. Create themed content for your blog, website and social media that is in keeping with current trends. – For instance, you could create a list of ways to make easy Halloween costumes of your favorite characters in Orange Is the New Black for a local party, etc.
  • 38. Case Study #1: Gatsby in Action • The Great Gatsby is an iconic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald – and it‟s old. But, a new Hollywood version starring Leo DiCaprio was released this year, which led to a huge influx of interest in flapper era culture. • While the film drew tourists to the filming locations, the site of Fitzgerald‟s grave and other Gatsby-relics from Australia to Long Island, it also gave destinations a chance to host themed parties, events and soirees to get in on the action.
  • 39. Case Study #2: 50 Shades of Grey • Everyone‟s favorite S&M romance novel spurred a ton of tourism – both for the location of the novels (Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington) and for hotels in other areas who jumped on the pop culture trend and began coming up with catchy themed offers. • From the Personality Hotel chain in San Fran and beyond to the Heathmann Hotel in Portland, smart accommodations have been offering options for couples titillated by the books.
  • 40. Case Study #3: Game of Thrones • While the locale for this popular HBO show is fictional, Northern Ireland has been used as a filming location – and they‟re taking full advantage. • The tourism board has been luring visitors via a filming locations guide and other promos.
  • 41. A Few Other Tourism Examples We Dig Iowa gets creative with a classic pop culture tie in! Brilliant!
  • 42. Philly references a hugely popular MTV show and ties it back to their cultural offerings – even though the show has nothing to do with Philly.
  • 43. Tourism Belize sends an open letter to the Breaking Bad cast after a notso-hot reference to the destination was made on the show. Fabulous way to turn a negative around!
  • 44. Stay Savvy, Be Creative In the end, pop culture marketing is all about thinking outside the proverbial box – coming up with creative ideas based on common themes and widespread trends, and real-time reactions. Be quick, stay savvy and get those creative juices flowing!
  • 45. Need Ideas? • You can always give us a shout – we‟re chock full of „em! • www.jenniferbarbee.com • jennifer@jenniferbarbee.com • 512.464.1102 • Twitter.com/jenniferbarbee • Facebook.com/jbinc.travel • (Smoke signals work, too)

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