Visit California and British Airways marked their tenth year of strategic partnership by taking home the Mercury Award in the co-op marketing category at ESTO for the inspirational “Britifornians” campaign.
The award-winning content series spotlights the transformative power of travel and was part of an expanded, three-tiered joint campaign between Visit California and British Airways in FY16/17. The expansion built on previously successfully campaign elements from the past ten years and introduced the groundbreaking new online video series that demonstrates how the Golden State can bring the biggest dreams to life for U.K. travelers.
Travel that transforms
The “Britifornians” series tells the story of select British travelers who find liberating and transformative experiences in the Golden State gateways of Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Incorporating notes both humorous and emotive, the individual installations follow the real journeys of U.K. travelers as they try new experiences and discover new things about themselves in California.
Distribution ran from January to March 2017, with placements on LoopMe, Teads.TV, ClearStream, BrightRoll (Yahoo), Runway+, and British Airways’ own in-flight entertainment network. Visit California expanded distribution to include placements through Google TruView and a Facebook pilot program.
At the U.S. Travel Association’s annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO), “Britifornians” was awarded the Mercury Award for Co-Op Marketing, beating out finalists TourismOhio and Travel Michigan for the top prize.
A decade of partnership
“Britifornians” is the latest evolution of Visit California’s successful partnership with British Airways. For a decade, the U.K. aviation giant has served as an invaluable partner with Visit California in expanding efforts in the Golden State’s top European market.
Since 2009, Visit California and British Airways have partnered on a co-branded, 30-second television spot that airs each year in January, the peak booking period for U.K. travelers. This year, Visit California’s investment in the media buy ran throughout January 2017 and generated 57 million impressions.
Additionally, the co-op included the return of a tactical sales layer with the British Airways Holidays sale in January. It included a digital OOH campaign and a content hub on SecretEscapes.com. The sales campaign promoted flights to gateways where British leisure travel is most prevalent – Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.
The January sales co-op yielded 7.6 million impressions and drove incremental passenger journeys to California up by 18 percent.
The U.K. travel market
As California’s second-largest overseas market, the United Kingdom is a major player in the Golden State’s international travel landscape. In 2016, more than 720,000 U.K. travelers spent more than $1 billion in California — a number that is projected to exceed $1.2 billion by 2020.
The market has experienced a tremendous airlift expansion with 124 direct flights per week to five California gateways. And of all direct flights from the United Kingdom to California, roughly 40 percent are operated by British Airways.
In November 2016, British Airways unlocked its fifth California gateway by introducing flights from London to Oakland International Airport, which began service in March 2017.
Fueling global demand
Visit California works closely with airline partners in top markets to drive the success of current routes, promote newly launched services, and ultimately grow global demand for the California brand. This year’s expanded programming serves as the model for continued partnership with British Airways in FY17/18 and beyond.
Take a look at the inspirational series below and see how these U.K. travelers were transformed into “Britifornians.”
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