Skift Take

Content is king and tourism marketers are realizing that giving travelers a place to dream about, even before they are ready to book, is key building a brand and relationship with future visitors.

Visit California is taking over YouTube for the next 24 hours.

The state tourism board is making its first foray into content marketing with a 24-hour ad takeover of YouTube in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada. Every hour a different video highlighting the state’s ‘dream big’ brand will be featured.

The takeover is part of a larger $3.7 million project, a new website called Dream365, which will feature branded video, photography, and text that speaks to California’s lifestyle and attractions.

“Part of what makes California attractive is the people, the lifestyle, and the attitude. And nothing conveys that better than video,” explains Visit California VP of Marketing Lynn Carpenter.

Carpenter says the new campaign is somewhat of a personal success for her as well as for Visit California, which has been searching for a more meaningful way to communicate with potential travelers.

“TV is really quite limiting,” says Carpenter. “A content heavy strategy allows us to have a digital footprint where people are already surfing.”

The campaign is geared to deliver about 135 million impressions between the four countries targeted in the YouTube launch. A larger campaign around the Dream365 project will run until June and aims to generate 400 million impressions worldwide.

A Content Portal

The marketing agency behind the vision, MeringCarson, describes Dream365 as “an inspiration portal for people to be inspired by all things California.”

MeringCarson worked with several publishers including Matador Network, Soul Pancake, and Pop Tent to produce the 24 videos and follow-up content.

Matador created four out of the 24 videos featured in Visit California’s YouTube takeover. It has previously produced videos for tourism marketing organizations in Utah, Montana, Australia, and New Zealand.

“We think [content] is by far the most important thing that DMOs can focus on in the next two years,” says Ross Borden, CEO and founder of Matador Network.

“If you can invest in content and you can build a place to house that content and it’s a beautiful place so people will come there as a viewer and a reader and not just a person looking to book a trip you’re a lot more likely to turn that viewer into a traveler.”

Below is a teaser for the YouTube takeover as well as two of the 24 videos to be featured today.


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Tags: california, marketing, youtube

Photo credit: Visit California's Dream365 Project features branded content. Visit California / YouTube

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