5 ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’ Questions with Travel Oregon

The fantastical travel marketing campaign by Travel Oregon is captivating viewers as it aims to drive tourism to the state. The whimsical, animated spot features real places you can visit in the seven regions of Oregon. If you haven’t already experienced the ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’ campaign, watch the video below and be sure to explore the website and the campaign’s corresponding landing pages. Intrigued by the magical campaign, we asked Bryan Mullaney, Global Marketing Insights and Planning Manager at Travel Oregon, about the travel marketing campaign’s goals and strategy, marketer-to-marketer.

1. What are the goals for the ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’ campaign?

Our goal was to create a feeling of “I want to go there, I want to experience nature in Oregon.” In travel and tourism marketing, that’s usually done through stunning nature photography, but you run the risk of creative that doesn’t stand out. Mountains, rivers and lakes start looking very similar in today’s tourism marketing world. While our concept focuses on nature and outdoor recreation, our goal is to use the beautiful, enchanting, and inviting animation to inspire people to come find happiness off the beaten path, all over Oregon.

2. How do you define success? And, how are you measuring it?

Success can be defined in a multitude of ways for this campaign. From a media standpoint, it’s about video views, traffic to TravelOregon.com and engagement with our content. We measure engagement by time on site, pages viewed, and folks ordering visitor guides or subscribing to emails from us.

Ultimately we’re always trying to get people to book overnight stays aka “heads in beds” to help stimulate the local economies around the state. As of the May 2018 Dean Runyan Associates “Oregon Travel Impacts” research report, the travel and tourism industry generates $11.8 billion and directly employs 112,200 Oregonians.

3. What role does the website play in the campaign?

A key challenge for the team was figuring out how to pay off (and extend!) the magical experience for audiences who are inspired by the animated spot on TravelOregon.com. Working off a mere photograph cannot possibly relay the feeling of being here. Therefore, we leveraged the fantastical images and characters from the campaign video to immerse visitors in a compelling new world (before they have a chance to exercise their disbelief).

The landing page takes visitors on a journey through Oregon, complete with animations (a combination of gifs, parallax and html5 video) and calls-to-action (CTAs) sprinkled throughout. However our job would only be half complete if we didn’t create a bridge between the fantastical experiences of the animation and real Oregon locations travelers can visit.

We showcase the beauty of Oregon and connect and educate our audience to authentic experiences throughout the state. For example, folks who are inspired by kids riding a giant rabbit through a tulip field are connected to Oregon in Bloom, a collection of trip ideas about flower festivals, spring events and waterfall hikes. We also used this campaign to tell the backstory of one of the country’s most iconic sights—Crater Lake National Park—by highlighting the lake’s geological history and illuminating some of the more prominent tribal myths about its formation through its creation story.

4. Travel Oregon is known for its original and imaginative campaigns, like the recent Oregon Trail campaign and last year’s robot fish. What was the inspiration behind ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’?

Have you ever tried to snap a picture of a beautiful landscape, only to look at your phone and think, “No, but it’s better than that. I swear!” Even with the most advanced cameras and editing software, it’s almost impossible to capture what you’re really seeing, feeling and experiencing in Oregon. That’s because Oregon is magical, and you really have to be here to get it. Oregon feels like it was plucked out of the greatest tales of fantasy and adventure, so we wanted to give it the treatment it deserves: animation. For an in-depth look at how we brought Oregon’s magic to life, you should read this behind the scenes story.

5. The Oregon Symphony created the original score for the campaign. What other authentically Oregon hidden gems are there throughout the campaign?

This fanciful, artful animation features Oregon’s majestic and diverse range of outdoor adventures in all the state’s seven tourism regions—from mountain biking the North Umpqua to fishing at Ramona Falls, to star gazing at Crater lake, and hot air ballooning over the Willamette Valley—there’s no shortage of magical adventures for everyone in Oregon.

For its hidden gems and even deeper stories about Oregon’s magic, follow us across social media where we are rewarding our fans with much more! For example, as part of our launch strategy, we have been juxtaposing animated scenes from the video with the real user-generated Instagram of these places and other similarly magical places throughout Oregon.

Also, a major strategy for the second half of the campaign will be the use of local and regional influencers who travel across the state to highlight a key activity or destination mentioned in the 90-second spot.

About the blog

We hope you like this mini-series highlighting digital innovations in Travel and Tourism marketing, and this particular feature of our client, Travel Oregon. If you’re interested in learning how Bound increases ROI on ad and media spend through website personalization, contact us.