Following two unprecedented years for the tourism industry, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism) sought to create a global advertising campaign to inspire travelers worldwide to return to travel and visit Los Angeles. A campaign that would roll out the red carpet for visitors and be as much an invitation as a call to action.
LA Tourism’s “Now Playing” campaign showcases the incomparable breadth of attractions, experiences, entertainment, and accommodations found only in LA while also being ownable, authentic, and inclusive. Through survey data and performance tracking, the campaign has proven to be exceptionally efficient and effective in attracting visitors from around the world.
The primary goals of LA Tourism’s “Now Playing” campaign were to generate a strong return on advertising investment through incremental direct tourism spending, increase brand awareness and generate demand for travel to Los Angeles as measured by survey data, impressions, reach, frequency, social engagement and completed video views.
Another major campaign objective was to showcase Los Angeles authentically through talent, locations, attractions and to illustrate LA Tourism’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, which has been a hallmark of LA Tourism for over a decade.
The “Now Playing” campaign launched its first phase in September 2022 with two dynamic 30-second ads and microsite. The second phase of the star-studded campaign launched in February 2023, and the campaign’s third phase with refreshed creative launched in September 2023. To date, LA Tourism’s total investment in the “Now Playing” campaign over the past year has been more than $23 million globally, as the organization drives tourism to the destination to bolster the Los Angeles economy.
The campaign emphasizes tactics including Cable, Connected TV, Online Video, Out of Home (OOH), search, social and popular podcasts in key markets. There has been a significant investment in OOH, including large placements in Times Square (NYC), Kings Cross (London) and multiple locations throughout Australia including Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. In recognition of the Hollywood Sign’s centennial celebration, LA Tourism also developed a hologram ad experience in London.
In true Los Angeles fashion, the ads are shot on-location at several iconic spots in the city and feature top talent, live-action film, animation for the first time and a touch of Hollywood magic. In addition to being narrated by Jenifer Lewis, the first spot featured an animated appearance by DJ Steve Aoki playing for a crowd at the Hollywood Bowl. The second spot brought together a cameo from LA Clippers star Paul George and a surprise animation illustrated by Mister Cartoon, a renowned Mexican-American artist whose artwork has become synonymous with LA street culture. For Spanish speaking audiences in Mexico City and Guadalajara, LA Tourism also partnered with popular Mexican radio personality, Yordi Rosado, to voice the spots.
The kickoff advertising campaign was a co-production between LA Tourism’s in-house creative director (Shelley Leopold), Plus Plus and Panamericana; bridging the cultural gap between sister cities, Los Angeles and Mexico City. In honor of this connection, award-winning Director Pablo Delgado Sánchez of Mexico City was selected to direct the spots.
To complement the ad campaign, Los Angeles Tourism also launched a microsite, https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/nowplaying, which prominently features the latest “Now Playing” spots and highlights 3-day itineraries and upcoming events. The microsite also celebrated legendary artist Mister Cartoon through a video spotlighting his story of becoming an artist in LA and what makes LA’s street art scene so significant. The accompanying editorial guide shares the artist’s favorite LA sites, including restaurants Casa Vega and Mercado, Elysian Park and the Petersen Automotive Museum.
The campaign’s latest September 2023 phase features product-driven :15 and :06 second spots crafted by Imaginary Forces. The eye-catching motion graphics were driven by the iconoclastic tune “Wanna Be in LA” by SoCal’s own Eagles of Death Metal.
Since its launch in September 2022, Los Angeles Tourism’s “Now Playing” campaign has generated more than $2 billion of incremental direct spending in Los Angeles. Early survey data from Strategic Marketing & Research Insights (SMARInsights) from Australia indicates that LA Tourism will see even more incremental direct spending for its international advertising efforts. According to SMARInsights, “The advertising is impactful in making Australian consumers want to visit Los Angeles. To date, the campaign has lifted the destination rating of Los Angeles by 18 points.”
Thus far, there have been more than 2 billion global impressions and 500 million completed video views. The campaign has garnered worldwide media attention, including coverage in AdAge, AdWeek, Skift, Travel Weekly UK and KarryOn Australia.