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Retired Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Boomer Esiason is plugging what he says is one of his favorite places on Earth: Norway.
Esiason is part of a new television and digital campaign from Visit Norway that is trying to battle preconceived notions about the destination.
According to Hege Vibeke Barnes, director of innovation North America at Visit Norway, Americans think “Norway is too cold, far away, and expensive.” To overcome this perception, Norway is turning to a reliable tourism standby: promote a chance at a dream job. In this case, a photojournalist who is assigned to travel by air, ship, rail, and stay in various cities to experience the nature and culture of Norway.
Partnering with Boomer Esiason made a lot of sense for the tourism board to reach the U.S. market. He’s an American-born Norwegian, he loves Norway and he’s a television personality. They collaborated on the promotion video to be shot at his studio. The tourism board donated a trip to Norway to the Boomer Esiason Foundation that fights cystic fibrosis, in exchange.
The total investment on marketing in the U.S. with Norwegian and American partners is $2 million, of which this “Dream Job Campaign” is ten percent, roughly $200,000. The competition is open to anyone in the world, but since the focus is on the U.S. flights only leave from five American cities, New York, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
Norway is building on a successful season that made much of a ‘Frozen’ campaign. That Disney piggybacking took place from September 2013 to May 2014 and built upon the movie’s embrace of Norway as a cold destination. Despite that, the country became more popular in the digital world and more familiar with Americans.
Barnes claims that overall traffic to the site during that campaign, grew by 92 percent which helped close 2014 with two million visitors to their U.S. site. In addition, 397,651 Americans booked hotel beds, a 31 percent increase from the 2013.
This year’s photojournalist competition hopes to showcase that Norway is a year-round destination. “It [Norway] is an easy to reach destination with an abundance of experience, and that we live the outdoors, all four seasons,” said Barnes.
In an observation in making Norway more accessible, “We have seen more airlines looking at starting flights to Norway. Norwegian Air Shuttle, and Norwegian airport, Avinor’s involvement and investment have been to help create viable and sustainable businesses for direct flights out of U.S. to Norway,” explained Barnes.
For the first time, Visit Norway is working with video submissions. S”If you’re really passionate, it shows [on film],” Barnes said. So far, 75 applications and 14,000 votes have been received.
Visit Norway worked closely with Dreamjobbers, a video production company that partners with brands that love to award dream experiences for people. Its platform powers online video submissions, voting, and social sharing.
Applicants need to get a majority of votes and comments to pass the first round and second round of promoting their video. During the third and last round, the top 20 candidates will be judged on the originality of their videos as well as their creativity in presenting and preparing their video submission.
The winner will be followed by a film crew on a show that will be produced and distributed by Dreamjobbing on a AXS TV in the U.S.