Newspaper Brands Online: Creative Solution - California Tourism

The story

California Tourism wanted to encourage awareness of all that California has to offer, showing travellers that the state is about a lot more than just beaches and sunshine, and spotting movie stars in Hollywood.

Through its media agency Feather Brooksbank, California Tourism chose The Times and The Sunday Times to develop a media partnership.

The News International Campaign Team, led by Sara Lamb, devised the "Totally California" solution, aimed at using the whole range of the two newspapers in print and online to educate readers about the wider appeal of visiting California.

"Totally California", which ran across Times Online, The Times and The Sunday Times Online, was designed to inspire and inform a wide range of audiences, from couples and families to wine-lovers and adventure junkies, with ideas for visiting the Golden State.

The campaign used seven themed advertorials, each with a specific theme and placed close to relevant content: for example, one advertorial about golf ran in The Times sport section, food and drink featured in a special edition of The Times magazine and copy about therapy/spa breaks ran in Body & Soul.

Co-branded marketing material also ran in the print and online newspapers, with extras online in an information-rich microsite.

The microsite carried the advertorials with an interactive map, linking to information about different areas of the state and the range of activities and interests that it caters for.

An online timeline offered users information about the dates of various events to help them plan their visits to California.

"Totally California" set out four itineraries for great trips to California to inspire readers with holiday planning ideas.

Each itinerary was tailor-made to one of the four main audiences - a trip featuring Disneyworld, the Kennedy Space Centre and San Diego's Zoo and Sea World for families; a skiing package to Lake Tahoe and Mammoth for outdoor types; the "ultimate road trip" for couples, and a food and wine tour for gourmets and wine-lovers.

Readers were invited to enter the prize draw, and the winner was invited to select one of the four breaks.

To drive readers to the site, branded and co-branded ads were run on Times Online and in The Times and The Sunday Times. In print, there were 26 ads - 20 of them co-branded Times Online and California - with a mix of 20x2s and 10x2s using the slogan: "California - Find Yourself Here." There were 13 classified strips in The Times and The Sunday Times travel, and links to the promotion from the Times Online travel section, with a further 13 classified ad strips in the two papers' sports pages.

The microsite attracted 58,008 unique users over the three months of the promotion, of whom 10,881 entered the prize draw. There were 102,417 page impressions on the microsite.

The campaign achieved high levels of recall - 29 per cent of a panel of readers of The Times and The Sunday Times recalled seeing California co-brands and 32 per cent recalled seeing California advertorials, while 50 per cent said they found the advertorials interesting.

After seeing the advertising, almost one in three said they were likely to consider California as a holiday destination.

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