Selling It-Nature Calls.-August 2011
Getting “connected with the world” used to mean turning to bird calls and lily pads, not Twitter and iPads. But in this technological age, young people in particular are less likely to use Minnesota state parks. A compelling campaign from Colle & McVoy this summer for Explore Minnesota tourism and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seeks to change that. It addresses the wired-versus-wild dichotomy head on.
“We didn’t want the campaign to be just about anti-technology,” says Eric Husband, group creative director at Colle & McVoy, “butat the same time, one of the things that keeps coming up in research is that you have a summer-long bucket list of things you were going to do with your family. What we started finding [was] a recurring theme was getting kids away from TV, less texting, less online surfing, and just getting your family together.”
The campaign targets not just kids, but “chief household officers,” which is what Husband calls wives and moms. “In the past, it was more of a manly thing to go out in the woods,” Husband says, “but through research, we knew mom was the planner and knew how to get the family together more and how to get them away from electronics.”
Not wanting to alienate an audience that’s hooked on technology for entertainment and convenience, the campaign emphasizes ease. One ad begins, “Step 1: Close your Angry Bird app.” Step 2 features a boy looking at real birds through binoculars. Another step 1 advises, “Place your smart phone in a Ziplock bag,” then shows canoeists on a river in step 2. The tagline, “Adventure made easy,” is the campaign’s recurring theme.
DNR and Explore Minnesota research suggested the “need to position parks and trails not as this hardcore, rock-climbing, whitewater-kayaking kind of experience, but rather the lighter family side of state parks,” Husband says.
Spending in this strapped–state budget era was relatively modest at $195,385. Of that, 63 percent was for media: ads in malls, shopping carts, skyways, and on bus boards. Of course, those heeding the message will get a respite from all those marketing messages, as getting back to nature means getting away from ads, at least for a few hours.