A Q&A with Destination Toronto’s Senior Market Manager Jeremy Maunder about the 2021 Holiday Campaign, Never Have I Ever Holiday Joy List

String lights, booths and people visiting the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District

It’s that special time of year again! With the holiday season around the corner, today marks the launch of our new 2021 holiday campaign.

Terminal editor Matt McNama sat down with Destination Toronto’s Senior Market Manager, Jeremy Maunder to chat about the new campaign and how businesses in the community can join in and spread joy this holiday season to locals and visitors, alike.

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Matt McNama: Happy campaign launch! Can you tell us more about what the 2021 Holiday campaign is all about and who it’s targeted towards? 

Jeremy Maunder: Thanks, there has been a lot of great work done by the team, first with the initial Never Have I Ever TO (NHIE) launch this summer and now with the holiday campaign that uses NHIE as the foundation for the creative idea. 

We’re calling this the Never Have I Ever Holiday Joy List! The campaign leans into the idea that gifting joy and reconnecting with those you care about creates holiday magic and the Joy List campaign encourages our hyperlocal and drive market audiences to reconnect in Toronto this season.  

MM: Talking a step back, can you talk about the success of the initial Never Have I Ever campaign, and what that means for Holiday 2021?

JM: Absolutely. Never Have I Ever, TO had a combined 6.4M video views, 1.8M social media engagements and 260K website visits since launch back in the summer.  The My Toronto Pass which was launched in conjunction with the campaign has gained over 5K subscribers with over 40 of our industry partner participating. Beyond that, the tourism and hospitality community rallied around it, creating their own Never Have I Ever moments that they shared with their audiences, that we were able to amplify using #NeverHaveIEverTO.  All very exciting stuff!

The holiday campaign builds on that success and learnings we’ve picked up along the way, evolving the idea in new and interesting ways. 

MM: What are the content channels for the campaign? What’s involved in the marketing aspects of the campaign?

JM: Partners like Cineplex, Trip Advisor, Breakfast Television, BlogTO YouTube and Narcity will ensure our message of gifting joy this season will be seen and be impactful with our key audiences.  

We also have a dedicated holiday campaign page on our Content Hub filled with holiday experiences that make Toronto so incredible this time of year and have updated the My Toronto Pass with a holiday refresh that will engage and prompt users to get out and explore the magic and sparkle of Toronto during the holiday season (safely of course!)

MM: What’s the objective of the campaign? 

JM:  Ultimately we want locals to continue to get out into the city and explore all Toronto has to offer during the holiday season with those they care about.  And we’re continuing to extend the invitation to Ontarians and our friends in Montreal to come spend a holiday weekend in Toronto, whether with your partner, some best friends or the family. 

Essentially we want locals, and those coming into the city, to explore, discover, and share their Never Have I Ever Moments of Joy with friends and loved ones across our diverse neighbourhoods.

MM: Shifting gears, how can Toronto’s tourism and hospitality businesses be part of the campaign?

JM: Like NHIE this summer, our creative strategy is rooted in inclusivity. Every business in the community can take part in the holiday campaign and bring it to life in their own unique way. 

Our primary ask of businesses is that as we shift towards the holiday season to get creative and think of all of the ways they create joy for their guests or customers.  Connect those moments of joy to Never Have I Ever with photos or videos and post on your social media accounts using our hashtags, #NeverHaveIEverTO and #SeeTorontoNow.  When they do this we can in turn see these posts with our monitoring tools and repost across our channels which extends the reach and engagement. 

The community is also welcome to use our campaign logos and videos to help craft those messages. You can access the digital toolkit assets here

MM: How long is the campaign running for? 

JM:  The campaign is on now.  Our paid media investment runs through to December 20, but our always on content published on DestinationToronto.com and in our social channels runs through and into the New Year.   Speaking of which we’ll shift messaging around moments of joy and into discovering winter focused Never Have I Ever experiences across the city. 

MM: Since this holiday campaign is anchored in spreading joy this holiday season, I have to ask—what’s at the top of your Never Have I Ever Joy List?

JM:  My partner and I always make a point over the holidays of getting a small group of friends together and check out the light installations downtown followed by dinner at a fun new restaurant we haven’t tried yet.  So checking off my Joy List this year is seeing the city all lit up and bustling with activity (again safely!) while enjoying a meal with our nearest and dearest. 

MM: Any final holiday spirit thoughts? 

JM:  We’re thrilled about the launch of this campaign and hope the industry will again rally around it as they enthusiastically have for the initial launch of Never Have I Ever, TO. On behalf of all of us at Destination Toronto, we’re wishing everyone a  continued recovery and reopening, and a wonderful holiday season!