On Monday, March 10, 2014, the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) unveiled an exciting new digital advertising initiative, the Guides to the Good Stuff. An extension of the SDTA’s current Happiness is Calling brand marketing efforts, the Guides to the Good Stuff is a rich media campaign in which influential San Diegans share their perspective on the San Diego lifestyle in their own words. The program is designed to give potential visitors an insider’s perspective of San Diego.
Building on the momentum from San Diego’s spring marketing campaign launched on Jan. 12, the Guides to the Good Stuff initiative adds a new layer to San Diego’s current marketing efforts. Short videos highlighting San Diego’s arts and culture, dining, craft beer, family attractions and activities, surf and skate culture, water recreation and golf will extend brand messaging, creating greater awareness of the region’s diverse offerings. Additionally, the SDTA will use content and video captured for the campaign to enrich future marketing opportunities.
“Our tourism industry provides extraordinary value to San Diego. As our second-largest industry, tourism generates nearly $8.4 billion annually for our economy and directly employs 165,900 San Diegans, so it is imperative that we continue to find new ways to attract visitors,” said Joe Terzi, SDTA President and CEO. “This creative new campaign will send the message to travelers across the country to visit our region. It’s going to invite them to experience what many of us as locals love about San Diego,” Terzi added.
The SDTA’s advertising agency, MeringCarson, helped develop the Guides to the Good Stuff initiative.
“We set out to showcase the San Diego experience in a completely genuine way,” said David Mering, CEO/Chief Creative Officer of MeringCarson. “Travelers today want to experience a new city the way a local would, which is precisely what these guides offer to the viewer,” continued Mering.
The SDTA identified local influencers and thought leaders that could offer fresh and sincere commentary on what makes San Diego a unique place to visit. Each “guide” was asked to share his or her local favorites, hidden gems, and experiences that are authentic to the destination via a series of short video interviews.
The San Diegans featured in the Guides to the Good Stuff include:
- Aaron Chang, photographer and gallery owner
- Greg Koch, CEO and Co-founder of Stone Brewing Co.
- Jahja Ling, Music Director for the San Diego Symphony
- Rob Machado, professional surfer and founder of the Rob Machado Foundation
- Tina Mickelson, Golf Ambassador for Callaway Golf and PGA Class “A” Member
- Rich Schwartz, San Diego Zoo Animal Care Supervisor
- Marcela Valladolid, celebrity chef, cookbook author and star of “The Kitchen”
Rich media digital display advertisements featuring the guides will run throughout the U.S. western region including key spot markets of Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Portland now through late April, delivering more than 100 million gross impressions for San Diego. Additional marketing efforts behind the launch of Guides to the Good Stuff include regional and national public relations and social media promotions.
A second round of digital cooperative advertising in partnership with SeaWorld San Diego will run in key markets from late April through June. In mid-May, free-standing print insert advertisements highlighting the guides will also debut in publications in Orange County, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. These efforts are part of the SDTA’s overall $12 million spring Happiness is Calling brand marketing campaign.
The video guides can be viewed via a dedicated landing page through the SDTA’s website, SanDiego.org. SanDiego.org/goodstuff features more than 15 video interviews with the guides on topics ranging from craft beer to shopping, golf, restaurants and more, with more videos to be added throughout April and May.