Los Angeles Conference & Visitors Bureau

Sometimes it's politics.

The Challenge.

The city of Los Angeles brought a problem to the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau (LA Inc): The San Fernando Valley was threatening to "secede from the union" over lack of meaningful marketing support by the bureau. The Valley, their hotels, attractions and merchants, felt overlooked by the city's destination campaigns, which were often Disney-centric, and immediate action was required. Bates/Lee (now a part of Catalyst Marketing Company) had worked in concert with LA Inc. on tactical initiatives before, and was called in to create and execute a solution.

The Strategy.

Universal Studios, the Valley's attraction giant, had just launched "Shrek," so the decision was made to craft a tactical family-aimed campaign featuring the lovable Shrek and Universal as the heros. Rather than run simple newspaper ads, we chose instead to create a tabloid size, glossy "section" that would insert into newspapers, packing a very visible wallop. We'd also use the same core creative for a focused direct effort, and supplement it with POP aboard transportation partner, AMTRAK.

The Execution.

The colorful "Valley of the Stars" multi-page tabloid size planner, which was designed to function as a newspaper insert in targeted zip codes and also as an efficient direct mailer to targeted databases. The broad newspaper exposure helped address the important political issue of visible support for the Valley, while at the same time presenting attractive and actionable vacation suggestions. The direct mail, supported by an online presence, drove higher-percentage targeted response. Also included was creation of a supporting "Kids Free LA" logo to reinforce a campaign component and to drive traffic to supporting microsite on LA Inc's web site, and colorful seatback inserts touting the program aboard AMTRAK trains.

The Results.

Buoyed by the phenomenal popularity of Shrek, the campaign enjoyed exceptional visibility and excellent response rate. Partner hotels stole market share from their LA and Orange County neighbors, and a de facto "staycation" phenomenon was observed even before the word was coined… with Valley residents booking getaway stays "for the fun of it." The campaign objective of showing the Valley the power of LA Inc's marketing support was also met, putting an end to secession talk.