Everything is branded these days, from your local plumber to your province. Surprisingly enough, the most well-known brand in the world, the United States of America, has decided for the first time in 236 years to create a federal brand strategy. Canada, in comparison, has been on the tourism brand-wagon for almost 20 years now. As a result of a declining economy and American travel, President Obama has established the first national strategy to promote inbound tourism to the U.S.A.
The $200 million Discover America campaign launched on May 1, 2012 and was developed by Brand USA and their agency of record, JWT. This fully integrated marketing campaign utilizes television spots, digital, billboard and print advertisements. They have also created a strong social media strategy using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, as well as have completed a full re-brand of their main tourism website, DiscoverAmerica.com.
The USA is often viewed as a loud, arrogant or nationalistic country around the globe. This new campaign is determined to shed a new light on the country with an intentional branding effort of creating a softer image than their usual bold red, white and blue approach with the tagline “Discover this land, like never before”. The television spot harnesses the international language of music to appeal to the masses as a central theme, images of multiculturalism and acceptance, as well as diverse landscapes and adventure.
The design is beautiful, the strategy is multifaceted and engaging, the commercial seems to be well received thus far and the song “Land of Dreams”, written by Rosanne Cash, is a catchy anti-anthem. Though, there is one aspect of the campaign that could negatively or positively affect this its success in their Canadian target market. Take away the signature colors, bald eagles and prominent political figures and the spots look very … Canadian! The commercial reviews seem to be primarily Canadians commenting how Canadian everything seems, from the music to the cityscape. Viewers are engaging with each other on how great their own country is. This familiarity could potentially encourage or discourage Canadian travel to the USA.
Does this campaign make you want to explore every corner of the USA, make you appreciate your own country or evoke no reaction at all? Let us know your thoughts!