Cannes Lions

Dog Travel Agent

LUQUIRE, Charlotte / VISIT NORTH CAROLINA / 2020

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Overview

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Overview

Background

45% of people bring their dogs with them for at least two nights when they travel, and 68% of those who travel with pets, plan 3+ getaways annually with their four-legged friends. There’s a lot of dog-friendly travel content out there, but much of it isn’t all that good. It’s bare bones, outdated, falls short on local insight and doesn’t really highlight dog-loving destinations. Its biggest flaw: It’s all written by hoomans, for hoomans. So, this highlighted an opportunity for Visit North Carolina to fill a need by providing content from a dog’s perspective.

And with plenty of welcoming hotels, dog-friendly beaches, state and national parks, breweries, restaurants, bakeries, hiking trails and even more fresh air adventures catering to tail-waggers, North Carolina is the ideal pet travel destination. Our objective was to inspire travel to North Carolina among dogs and their people in drive markets.

Idea

The only dog-friendly content out there has been written from a person’s perspective (not a dog’s). And the dog’s customer journey and touch points along the way were being completely ignored by every other travel brand. So, Visit North Carolina sought to hire the first Dog Travel Agent to help tell the world about the state’s woof-worthy destinations – as only a pupper can – with travel content designed by doggos for doggos. Using doggo lingo and media placements targeting puppers all across the state, we searched for an up-and-comer, true local expert, to sniff out all the goodest places in North Carolina. From hundreds of applicants, Mo – a rescue dog from Charlotte – was hired as the top dog. And now she’s helping Visit North Carolina stretch beyond expected dog-friendly travel content to fetch doggo-designed vacays and travel tips.

Strategy

Since there are now more households with pets than those with children – travelers and their four-legged companions are increasingly seeking getaways that don’t just allow dogs, but truly welcome them. This trend along with all the dog-friendly activities, events and destinations that North Carolina has to offer created the perfect opportunity to inspire travel to North Carolina by dogs and their people. The strategy to focus on providing that inspiration from a dog’s perspective is what sets this idea and campaign apart from any other.

Execution

The search for the World’s First Dog Travel Agent began on National Dog Day (Aug. 26, 2019), inviting North Carolina doggos to submit an application video on Instagram. Ads for the position were placed where the goodest doggos would find them – by fire hydrants on busy sidewalks, next to water bowls at dog-friendly breweries, by trees at local parks and with a little help from their hoomans – via job postings on LinkedIn and Indeed. The combination of online and on-the-ground ads for the ideal candidate captured the interest of media, travelers and applicants. From the hundreds of applications, a rescue dog named Mo was hired as the first Dog Travel Agent. She then started exploring all across the state using doggo lingo to share her perspectives and North Carolina trip ideas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube in a way that no other travel agent has before.

Outcome

The Dog Travel Agent campaign generated awareness and drove consideration of North Carolina as the go-to dog traveler destination with more than 30 million media impressions.

A number 1 ranking in organic search as well as an almost unheard-of low bounce rate of 1.7% for the landing page indicated very high interest with the content. A video completion rate of 88% on YouTube also reflected keen interest in tracking Mo’s adventures across the state.

The Doggo Adventure Generator quiz far surpassed expectations performing better than prior niche experiences with a 93% engagement rate and 83% completion rate.

The announcement email performed well above benchmarks with a 43% open rate. And our GIPHY stickers have earned millions and millions of impressions, ranking as some of the most popular dog stickers available. They were even shared by mega influencer (and one of the most high-profile dog accounts on Instagram) – The Dodo.

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