Destinations Council Destiny Awards > International Marketing
Destinations Council Destiny Awards > International Marketing
About This Entry:
As Japan faces the multiple challenges of a sluggish economy, natural disasters, and a loss of prestige vis-à-vis some of their Asian neighbors, the disappearance of the dual promises of lifetime employment and ever-increasing material gain have deeply challenged the conformist nature of Japan’s social status quo.
Through our own experience in the market and feedback from key opinion leaders, we have been made aware that this perceived loss of sustainable growth is profoundly effecting the psyche of the Japanese traveler. It has become important for many to find new models for personal and professional growth outside of the Japanese context. Japanese travelers are searching for rewarding means to express their independence, creativity and enjoyment of life, as well as see new sights and taste new tastes. We as a destination, and as a community, love this kind of visitor and we show it! At the same time, the people of Portland have a deep connection to and respect for the traditions and aesthetics of Japanese culture and the Japanese people which make our visitors from Japan feel all the more welcomed in our city.
Travel Portland has had success over the last decade in the raising the level of awareness among Japanese consumers about Portland as a destination of creativity, sustainability, and quality of experience--particularly through efforts encouraging, supporting and providing editorial content across various media platforms.
While Japanese tourism to the US has been falling over the past few years, our own numbers have been steadily increasing. Now that destination awareness has been raised to a level of critical mass, our challenge is to deepen Portland’s natural appeal as a travel destination of authenticity, creativity, and quirky fun, while honoring our Japanese audience’s familiarity with traditional avenues of travel selection. We now embark on a three-year campaign, one combining factual and useful travel information with a healthy dose of whimsy, creating a branded alternate world of Portland—Odnarotoop—through which our aim is to continue to drive our target market to the travelportland.jp website, and ultimately increase actual visitations and, even more importantly, length of stay, by our Japanese guests.
Our creative partners in this campaign were, Wieden+Kennedy, Tokyo (throughout all phases), and Edleman PR (for coordination, public relations, and social media during activations in 2017).
"Odnarotoop" is the phonetically transposed Japanese pronunciation of “Portland:" (ポートランド →Pootorando→Odnarotoop→オドナロトープ.
Phase 1: We selected a popular Portland band to produce a song in Japanese that highlighted Portland's special appeal, and paired that song with an interactive music "GIFEO" video in which viewers could insert their own faces. This whimsical musical Portland tour was guided by the "Odnaro-Dude," part Sasquatch, part Portland hipster. The launch event for media was held at the T-Site bookstore in Tokyo, and a consumer activation at a "Portland Pop-up" event.
While the music GIFEO proved popular, positive attention was also focused on the "Dude." We had created a giant blue embodiment of Portland that demanded personification as 3-dimensional mascot.
Phase 2 was held in our booth at Japan Travel Expo in September, 2016. Our Dude, now a living breathing entity, introduced Portland's quirkiness through an intricately decorated "tattoo" parlor, where travel industry and consumer visitors lined up throughout three days to meet him and receive colorful Odnarotoop temporary tats and take photos with blue Dude beards. Odnarotoop vinyl records were gifted to consumers who shared their Odnaro-experience on social media.
Phase 3: Next we had our Dude create his own lighthearted-yet-practical Portland travel brochure in both print and online (animated) editions. To launch the brochure, the Dude made an appearance at a popular shopping mall in Shibuya, the Times Square of Tokyo, and at HIS heaquarters in Shijuku.
There we set up a pop-up travel agency, where experts distributed our brochures and answered travelers’ questions. With him we also deployed virtual-reality experiences via "Dude-Vision" heads, each highlighting a different aspect of the Portland experience: the maker scene, the food scene and winter sports.
This whole "Odnaro-Travel Agency" then went to Osaka, to appear during Golden Week at a pop-up Portland takeover of the 8th floor of the Hanshin Department Store, and then to Washington DC, where the Dude hosted a breakfast for 100 Japanese travel professionals at IPW 2017.
Cost for campaign over two years: $1.5 million
Immediate Activation Results:
Phase 1: Song/GIFEO Video/T-site Activation -- One month -- May 20-June 19, 2016
During our first brief launch period (late May-June, 2016) the Odnarotoop Music Video received 7381 views on Youtube. The GIFEOs of specific scenes from the video received 3407 views.
10,235 visits to the Odnarotoop.com hub site during the one-month period. 1739 visitors generated their own face to insert into the video. 42% of those who completed their own GIFEO video shared with others: 392 on Facebook, 193 on Twitter, and 144 on-line.
Phase 2: JATA Tourism EXPO 2016 Sep 23-25, Tokyo Big Sight
Our Dude and his assistants applied 1,457 temporary Odnarotoop tattoos during the three days, in addition to giving out 237 Odnarotoop record albums and 200 sticker sheets. There were 44 twitter posts and 69 Instagram posts during the three day event.
Phase 3: “COME ON! PORTLAND! FAIR” Odnaro Travel Agency on-site event activation for three days -- March 18, 19 & 20, 2016
- 1019 Odnarotoop catalogues distributed during the three days, and 1064 people put on a Dude head to have 360 degree virtual reality Portland experience.
- 6750 brochures were distributed at cafes around Tokyo and Osaka, and 720 were distributed at H.I.S. outlets.
- some of the best Media Coverage included Campaign Magazine, Asahi Digital, and Tokyo Weekender.
OVERALL RESULTS (still developing):
According to Expedia (Expedia bookings)
- traffic to Portland from Japan was up 24% in 2016 over 2015
- room nights were up 22%
- air ticket sales were up 42%
According to Tourism Analytics, overall Japanese visitations to Portland are up 9.5% YOY in 2016,
Overall US visitations from Japan over the same period declined by 4%.
- For comparison over a five-year period, Japanese spending in Portland was up 16% from 2011-2016, while cities in our comparable city set have been down 16%.
- Traffic to travelportland.jp overall page views increased 36% from July 1-Dec 31 over the same period the previous year.
We expected trends in 2017 to remain strong!
Why This Is A Finalist:
Asia, especially Japan, is a very unique market. The way Japanese people perceive information is very different from other markets. They are drawn to brands that show originality, which in Portland was able to capitalize on. Portland wanted to build an emotional bond with the Japanese consumers by leveraging their appreciation of oddity and their fearlessness to express originality. The fact that they were able to cross-culturally market a city to another country with such vast differences, and overcoming language and culture, while truly driving visitation, is outstanding. This is an excellent use of authentic, local talent to resonate with a foreign audience, while maintaining relevancy among international travelers.
- Category Winner