Last year, Hylink conceptualized a 'Kaleidoscope' theme for San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA)'s creative advertising strategy, with the goal of showcasing San Francisco's many layers; the city is so multifaceted and presents many varying degrees of travel experiences, much like a kaleidoscope. We set out to showcase the iconic images, while simultaneously communicating a distinct uniqueness of the city through creative elements and key visuals.
This past fall, we integrated the Kaleidoscope concept into a WeChat campaign called Draw Something SF, in which we aimed to increase engagement and follower retention through an interactive and creatively-driven concept. Upon engaging with SFTA's WeChat account by guessing the name of abstract illustrations, users were able to tap into their own imagination and apply it to San Francisco as a travel destination, and were encouraged by the prospect of winning giveaway prizes.
Maintaining the Kaleidoscope theme throughout, our team leveraged leading super app WeChat to run an interactive campaign that would both excite and engage Chinese users within the context of SFTA's account. Over the course of one month, an article with an abstract illustration of well-known SF attractions was posted, encouraging followers to guess the correct location by commenting.
Hints were provided, and the correct answer, as well as a new illustration/question, was revealed in a subsequent post. Once the answer was revealed, an overview of the attraction was provided in an article, along with other similar and recommended spots to visit while in SF.
The featured locations were grouped according to difficulty; each week, users progressed one level and hits became more difficult. Locations, grouped by week, included:
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Painted Ladies
- Lombard "Crookedest" Street
- Pier 39
- Napa Valley
- Cable Cars
- TransAmerica Pyramid
- Ferry Building
Tiered gifts were awarded to winners based upon their engagement and responses, including San Francisco-branded swag (sweaters and lunch pails). And, the grand prize winner received a round-trip flight from China to SFO.
Our media team placed two different paid acquisition banner ads to direct users to the campaign on SFTA's account, which helped increase our campaign reach.
In just under one month, we reached a 10% engagement rate – 307% more than the established KPI – and gained 10,000 new followers. On the paid media side, we garnered 11 million impressions, and 118,000 clicks (62% above the estimate).
The campaign generated an overall 12.4% increase in followers, with 27.3% hailing from Tier 1 and 2 cities, improving the overall follower profile of their account.
Though paid media certainly played an important role in the success of this campaign, the delicate mix of performance and branding elements highlights the effectiveness of inspiration-building exercises in travel marketing campaigns. Because the motivation that goes into booking travel is one that's complex and imperative to any prospective traveler's consumer journey, the onus is on marketers to continue innovating in social campaigns by providing interactive mediums for our target audiences.