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Ontario unveils campaign to encourage international travel

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Destination Ontario (DO), an agency of the government of Ontario, has developed an international advertising campaign to help spur interest in travelling to the province as restrictions are eased for leisure travel.

Recognizing that, once it is safe to do so, a significant segment of international travellers will fly to Ontario to visit family and friends who live here. Destination Ontario worked with its creative agency of record, FCB Canada, to develop a campaign targeted at reuniting loved ones and experiencing Ontario’s tourism offerings together.

“Germany and the United Kingdom are priority markets for Ontario, and throughout the pandemic we have continued to be active in those markets with travel trade and media relations to ensure Ontario was kept top-of-mind for when leisure travel resumed,” said Debra Mansillo, Vice President, Industry Relations & International Marketing, Destination Ontario. “We are now building awareness to ensure when consumers begin to travel, they will choose Ontario.”

The creative features British and German expats living in Ontario, telling their stories about missing their families and how they can’t wait to welcome them to Ontario to show them the beauty and wonder of the province. ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ is projected to be a first-mover market and reconnecting has become a priority for many people.

Ontario’s beauty is captured through the eyes of two women, Roberta and Alica, who moved here from abroad (United Kingdom and Germany) years ago. The ads follow their adventures, intercut with virtual calls back home. Their journeys relate to the experiences of many Ontarians who have moved here from abroad.

“It’s been really hard not seeing my family for so long. You miss so many milestones,” said Associate Creative Director Guilherme Bermejo, who worked on the campaign and whose family is in Brazil. “But the past couple of years I’ve road-tripped a lot around Ontario. And when I do, I see lots of stuff I want to share with my family – like new fishing spots to bring my dad and wineries to take my mom.”

“I think these videos are really hopeful. They capture Ontario’s beauty and the excitement to discover and share breathtaking and memorable places in Ontario,” added Associate Creative Director Nicholas Doerr, Bermejo’s creative partner and an Ontarian. “As they travel around Ontario, they reflect on their families back home and all the places they’ll share with them when they can visit again.”

The films were directed by Andrew Cividino who won an Emmy Award for his work on Schitt’s Creek. “It was an honour to collaborate with the amazing people at DO and FCB to bring the spot together and to find a way to showcase the province while being true to the emotional underpinning of the piece. We can all relate to the feeling of being disconnected from our loved ones these past years, and it felt special to be able to tell these stories.”

The campaign is in-market November 3 to December 5, 2021 with market-specific landing pages highlighting reasons to visit Ontario, things to do, places to visit, itineraries, and tour operators’ offers. The media buy includes digital, social, Google – Discovery, and a content partnership.

Creative for the campaign was handled by FCB, media-buying and planning was handled by Initiative, production company was Film Forge, with post-production handled by Rooster Post-Production, Fort York VFX, Alter Ego, and Audio by Eggplant.

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