Last summer, Destination Toronto launched You Gotta See What We See (YGS) directed at key U.S. markets and featuring Simu Liu, Santee Siouxx, Sonia Mangat, Nick Liu and Mariah Amber who shared their unique perspectives and passion for the city, and invited the audience to come and experience it for themselves.
The 2023 YGS campaign began in May, and the latest collaboration comes from Blackpowerbarbie, a multi-faceted still and motion artist specializing in 2D animation from Toronto, who – along with two Toronto-based other artists – adds colourful, graffiti-like animation to a live action perspective. Blackpowerbarbie shares her perspective with Smolik, a multimedia artist whose work fuses iconography, popular culture and art history into a unique artistic vision of self identity, and Lauren Pirie, whose work explores ideas of interconnection in relation to ecology, desire, and regeneration in a range of media and scale, from painting and soft sculpture, to large scale murals and public installations.
The newest collaboration does a great job of demonstrating how these perspectives can be unique, but still connected by the collective ethos of Toronto.
Terminal editor Kathy Motton chatted with Stanton Singh, Associate Director of Media & Partnerships at Destination Toronto about the newest collaboration and other ways we’re enticing our American audiences with You Gotta See What We See.
The YGS collaborations are fantastic! Can you share a little bit about the newest perspective?
Stanton: YGS is rooted in the narrative that Toronto is a diverse city but, beyond that, it values inclusivity which is what enables different perspectives to meaningfully impact the city’s culture. It’s what sets Toronto apart and makes it a place others want to experience.
The newest collaboration does a great job of demonstrating how these perspectives can be unique, but still connected by the collective ethos of Toronto. In the newest feature animated by Blackpowerbarbie, we meet three artists who take inspiration from Toronto and celebrate the diverse, creative community that embraces them. We want potential visitors to understand that their unique perspectives will be welcomed and accepted here.
Whereas last year had a uniform format or output, in 2023 we’re looking to not only share the creators’ perspectives but also do so through their creative lens.
Can you share more about the creative process and the connection to the 2022 YGS campaign?
Stanton: Creatively, because Toronto’s people are at the heart of the story, we chose a collaborative approach whereby we would tell the stories of the city through the eyes of Toronto creators, those who are passionate about sharing their stories with visitors. The people make the city and, quite honestly, our target is most interested in the experiences of real people, that’s the content they want to engage with.
It’s a deeper level of collaboration with the creators. Whereas last year had a uniform format or output, in 2023 we’re looking to not only share the creators’ perspectives but also do so through their creative lens. That’s important to their story as creators and what will make this campaign stand out.
Who is the target audience for this campaign and what is the overall media strategy?
Stanton: The campaign is directed at the U.S., specifically New York City/New Jersey, San Jose/San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Washington DC. From a demographic perspective, the target audience is affluent experience-seekers. The data on this audience segment by Destination Analysts shows that this financially secure target continues to prioritize travel in their spending behaviour, and is resilient even in times of economic uncertainty.
The media strategy is full-funnel, meaning that it includes awareness, consideration and conversion channels and tactics. The collaborative series (including Director X and Blackpowerbarbie) sits at the awareness level and is supported by deeper content and specific CTAs to move the audience from interest to intent. The media mix includes social, youtube, digital/display, search, publisher partnerships, connected TV, media relations and owned content social.
The people make the city and, quite honestly, our target is most interested in the experiences of real people, that’s the content they want to engage with.
Anything else to share about the campaign? What can we expect to see next?
Stanton: Our media relations team delivered the taste, sound and feel of Toronto to NYC recently, where Toronto eats and an intimate performance by Choir! Choir! Choir! through a Sofar Sounds concert demonstrated YGS to New Yorkers, media and influencers.
We will have other collaborations coming later in the year that I’m excited about, but can’t share just yet. In the meantime, I will leave you with just one thought: You Gotta See What We See!