Marketing that really soars.
The John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport wanted to increase awareness of its winter holiday destinations. We knew the bigger challenge would be to get the target audience to switch their default search from ‘YYZ’ (Toronto Pearson) to ‘YHM’ (Hamilton) before booking their trip. For this award-winning campaign, we put the emotional connection front and centre with authentic imagery and created a campaign-specific microsite with a URL (searchYHM.ca) that reinforced the action we wanted audiences to take. We’ve been taking the airport’s marketing to new heights ever season since that first fall/winter campaign.
JOHN C. MUNRO HAMILTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
FALL/WINTER MARKETING CAMPAIGN 2013
THE BIG PICTURE
We were responsible for the strategy and execution of a cross-platform, multi-media campaign that not only increased brand awareness for the Hamilton International Airport, but successfully converted that brand awareness into measurable sales.
“We want to increase brand awareness for the airport and its non-stop holiday destination flights.”
“Yes, Hamilton has an airport and offers direct flights to the most popular destinations. So, why do Hamiltonians still deal with the hassle of going to Toronto or Buffalo when there’s an airport right in their own backyard?”
Building brand awareness for the airport and its holiday destinations would be the easy part. But how would we actually get people to book their flights out of Hamilton?
THE AH-HA MOMENT
The majority of our target audience book their flights online with the default search set to ‘YYZ’ for flights leaving Toronto Pearson. That fact made our ultimate goal pretty clear… we needed potential travelers to search ‘YHM’ for Hamilton flights before they booked their trip.
Let’s face it. By February you’re thinking beach. And then the ugly reality of over-priced parking, cursed luggage carts and security checks have you screaming “are we there yet?” before you even leave the departure lounge.
At first, our clients thought Hamilton International’s reputation as Southern Ontario’s ‘fastest’ airport was a key selling feature. But we knew the emotional connection had to come first, so we decided to focus on what would really matter to sun deprived, overstressed Hamiltonians in the dead of winter… that oh-so-ah-mazing feeling of being on vacation.
At the time Instagram was getting a lot of buzz as the ‘new black’ of social media. To capitalize on this increasingly popular trend, we selected and styled photos that captured that ‘in the moment’ feeling of fun in the sun. Because when you’re on vacation you get to do fun stuff with a sombrero. We wanted to get people’s attention and yes, we did get a little cheeky in the process. But humour and authenticity have a great way of connecting a message with an audience.
FLY HAMILTON TO HOLIDAY… YOU’LL LOVE GETTING THERE.
Once we’d made the emotional connection to something people really care about, we could focus on the secondary message: that Hamilton International offers a convenient, hassle-free travel experience that lets you start your holiday sooner.
With our messaging in place, the real challenge was figuring out how to convert audience interest into measurable engagement.
A campaign specific single-page responsive microsite became the solution. Search YHM.ca, designed and developed on the WordPress CMS, allowed us to dedicate a URL specific to the campaign that would reinforce the key action we wanted our audience to take and develop a tangible way to track and measure the overall effectiveness of the campaign. We were now able to track the out-of-home components like billboards and transit shelters, along with print and digital ads – all of which directed our audience back to the SearchYHM.ca microsite.
October 2013-April 2014
DURATION OF PROJECT
3 months (from kick-off to go live)
- creative concepts and direction
- media strategy and media buys
- out-of-home print and digital billboards
- TV ad storyboards
- radio ad scripts
- digital ad sets
- printed magazine ads
- printed sell sheets
- digital assets for web, social media and internal communications
- responsive WordPress microsite
Hamilton International Airport had one of its most successful winter travel seasons and received excellent feedback on the campaign from consumers, travel agents and vendors alike. To add to the glory…
…the microsite won a 2014 Marketing and Communications Award from the Airport Council International – North American division.
The airport was so happy with the results from the 2013 Fall/Winter season that we were asked to design the campaign for the 2014 Spring/Summer season and have continued our partnership ever since. The best possible outcome all around!