Looking to attract more millennial tourists, Discover Los Angeles portrays its city as a hipster paradise in a new campaign. The centerpiece of the effort, a 2-minute YouTube video, follows a young couple as they shop for vinyl, take pictures of their food, eat tacos from a food truck and pose for selfies during a whirlwind day in the city.
Instagram influencers Sonya Esman and Devin Brugman make appearances in the video, as does local chef (and foodie favorite) Roy Choi. The video was created by Culver City creative agency PRETTYBIRD.
Don Skeoch, chief marketing officer for Discover Los Angeles — the city’s tourism marketing arm — said the campaign was conceived after focus groups conducted in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia last June indicated that Millennials hold a more forgiving view of LA than their parents do and are more likely to consider it as a vacation destination. "Millennials are much more responsive to traveling to Los Angeles than the baby boomer cohort," he said. "Baby boomers in the focus groups were still a little bit skeptical about Los Angeles. They looked at New York or LA. There was a little bit of competition between NY and Tinseltown."
"Millennials like both cities equally," he said.
The research also revealed that Millennials spend as much on travel as older groups.
"We learned that millennials in particular embody an ‘anything is possible’ sentiment about Los Angeles. These unscripted moments make one’s LA trip unexpectedly amazing, and we’re encouraging visitors to ‘get lost’ in these only-in-LA experiences," he said.
The campaign, which broke last week, is aimed at tourists between the ages of 22 and 37. The 2015 campaign targeted people 25 to 54. Radio, TV, out-of-home and digital ads are slated to run for two months, but could be revived later in the organization’s next fiscal year, Skeoch said.
The YouTube video has been cut down into 30- and 60-second TV. Among the locations featured in the video are the Hotel Erwin and boardwalk in Venice; and, in LA, Caveman Vintage, Grand Central Market, the Broad museum and Lucha Underground, a wrestling arena, and restaurants Toca Madera, Cafe Dulce and the Commissary at the Line Hotel.
The video and TV spots have a Shazam element embedded in them, inviting viewers to use the app to enter a contest for a trip for four to L.A. "Electric Love," by LA resident BORNS, is the soundtrack on the video and TV spots.
Two 30-second radio spots feature millennials discussing various experiences they had getting "lost in LA" Digital ads employ what Skeoch called a "speed-reading technique," a stream-of-consciousness writing style that lets the reader easily read many words per second and ultimately "get lost" in the story. For example, one digital ad discusses getting "lost in a surf break: under the bright dawn sun and you lose track of time and now you ride bikes down the weird wonderful Venice boardwalk and after lunch you hike the scrub and stones of Runyon Canyon and it is time to head downtown to see real athletes fly through the air and better leave that to the pros."
The campaign will run in three cities outside of California — New York, Washington and Chicago — and four within the state, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno — all of which Skeoch said generated 40% of LA’s tourists annually.
Time will be bought in these markets on prime time shows such as "Grey’s Anatomy" and "The Voice," while geo-targeted ads will also run on websites like TripAdvisor, Facebook and Instagram. Advertising was created by PRETTYBIRD.
Skeoch declined to quantify the budget for the new campaign, though he said it would be "millions of dollars." One-third of the budget will be spent on TV advertising, while 60% will be spent on digital ads; more than half of the 2015 budget was devoted to TV, while 30% went to digital.
He also said he was not concerned about baby boomers or Gen Xers feeling ignored by the new strategy. "Millennials are the middle of the doughnut," he said. "Baby boomers may be 55 or 60, but they can still have the same experiences, aspire to have the same experiences as Millennials."