Rocky Mountaineer is a Vancouver-based travel company that offers luxury rail journeys through the Canadian Rockies. Rocky Mountaineer’s marketing department had primarily relied on print-based advertising that was targeted towards seniors in the past. Recently they had decided that they needed to expand their advertising campaigns to include digital advertising as senior consumers continue to become more active Internet users. There was also interest in finding ways to expand the target market to include a younger demographic. Some stakeholders were nervous about allocating a significant portion of their budget to digital media without seeing some results first, and they had delegated the digital and social media program to a single team member.

Discover & Devise

Discovery session: The project began with a briefing session where the target market, offer details and existing creative assets were discussed. The Early Booking Bonus was a significant annual promotional offer and since it would be run as a phased campaign to align with holiday planning seasons across Australia & New Zealand, the UK, Germany, and North America, it was a good choice to test different advertising executions. The campaign would need to be designed to be economical to make best use of the limited “trial” budget for digital media.

Campaign strategy: In the past the client had sent out single-graphic attachments for their email campaigns that were costly to have produced via their existing print design partner, and recipients weren’t able to see the offer without loading the email image first. To make the best use of the limited budget and improve the user experience, it was determined that a flexible template-based approach would be used for an html email newsletter that would allow the client to easily update and test different headlines, photography choices and content and use the same template for future campaigns. The company already had a wealth of photography from its’ travel brochures and a YouTube video that was produced as part of a recent song-writing contest, so these assets could be re-purposed and incorporated into campaign creative.

Design & Develop

The campaign creative concept was designed with a photo-based collage format to convey the luxurious holiday experience and also enable us to economically swap out photos for A/B testing over time. Email newsletters were sent out to each of the various global markets. A variety of ad executions were created, with different ones used in each phase.

Ad executions included:

  • An interactive ad created for an iPad travel magazine: The ad featured a large video showing some of the most beautiful footage from the source video, as well as interactive photo galleries to allow readers to browse through images conveying the holiday dining, accommodation, activity and rail & cruise options.
  • A full-page re-skin for the travel section of an online newspaper: The ad execution included a custom background highlighting offer details as well as a large-format Flash streaming video ad
  • A variety of standard Flash display ads run across several online publications

Results delivered

The creation of templates and re-use of existing creative assets meant the client was able to stretch their advertising budget further and they were able to try several different creative executions to test what worked best for their audience. In addition to the consumer response to the Early Booking Bonus offer, the campaign returned the added benefit of putting processes and tools in place and digital marketing has since gained momentum at Rocky Mountaineer.