Shortlisted 2023

Travel & Tourism


Travel Manitoba

Entered by:

Travel Manitoba

Canada’s Heart Is Calling


UpHouse Inc.

The Challenge

As Travel Manitoba looked to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic in 2021, the organization knew its seven-year-old brand, Manitoba, Canada’s Heart…Beats, needed to evolve. That year, Travel Manitoba engaged Stormy Lake Consulting to assess the brand’s equity, determine how it resonates with customers in our target markets and evaluate the relevance of its mission, vision and promise.

The research showed that the current brand was very appealing but not necessarily distinct in its tourism offering. What came to light is that the portrayal of our iconic experiences needed an emotional connection—something that moved our travellers to feel part of the place they are visiting and to carry a piece of that place with them long after they leave.

These findings led Travel Manitoba to engage with a local marketing agency—UpHouse Inc.—to refresh and evolve the Manitoba, Canada’s Heart…Beats brand.

Through UpHouse’s research, it was clear that the way Travel Manitoba reaches consumers today also needed to evolve, leading us to invest significantly in video to communicate the refreshed brand. We wanted to engage our primary audience (Manitobans) to share in the creation of the refreshed brand through user generated content. We also wanted to partner with local artisans to collaborate on branded merchandise that reflected the talent and character of the province.

Canada’s Heart is Calling harnesses the emotional impact of Manitoba’s most awe-inspiring assets and focuses on the experiences and activities that our target audiences are most interested in.

The Content Solution

The Canada’s Heart is Calling video series brings our refreshed brand to life by showcasing the culture, experiences and reasons to visit Manitoba.

With our agency, UpHouse, we developed this video series to speak to travellers who are interested in immersing themselves in the cultures and traditions of the places they visit. We use Destination Canada’s Explorer Quotient (EQ) tool to segment audiences based on travel behaviour and motivation to travel. Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers are interested in Manitoba’s diverse outdoor and cultural experiences. These are the types of travellers attracted to what Manitoba has to offer and are the top segments we target with our advertising and marketing.

In order to evoke the emotions we want travellers to feel when they come to Manitoba, UpHouse developed a new heart-messaging framework for all of Travel Manitoba’s advertising and marketing. The framework ties the new tagline together with a strong emphasis on how we feel when we travel. For each “heart word”, a brand video was developed:

Overall, the new promise of Travel Manitoba’s brand is summarized in this video: “When your heart needs travel, Canada’s Heart is Calling”.

A second set of videos was created with user generated content (UGC) sourced directly from local Manitobans wanting to share their love for the province. These UGC videos were produced specifically for social media in a vertical format and published as YouTube Shorts:

From the local marketing agency to the local Manitoban musicians and locally sourced content, the Canada’s Heart is Calling videos drew on the idea that Manitoba’s stories are best told by the people who live here.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

On January 9, we announced the new brand at a local industry event with over 200 in person attendees including VIPs like the Manitoba Premier. We also launched a new branded merchandise line including several collaborations with local artisans.

Working with UpHouse’s public relations team, we embarked on a campaign to promote our brand to the world through print, digital and social advertising. Our target audiences were our primary (Manitoba) and secondary (Canada) markets for video and paid efforts, while our online and print efforts expanded to U.S. and Germany markets as earned media.

Media releases in English and French were distributed to local, national and international media with organic pick up across Canada (our secondary market) the U.S. and Germany (two of our largest international markets).

The videos were aired as part of both a paid and organic media campaign. Our paid push was aimed at Manitoba residents aged 25 to 64 and included traditional TV commercials, digital connected TV/OTT and movie theatres in the province. Specific channels we targeted include Rogers Sports Media, Bell Media, CBC, Global, CTV and City TV, to reach our Cultural Explorers and Authentic Experiencers.

We utilized social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn to run both paid ads and organic posts highlighting the heart-word brand videos. Since the launch of the brand campaign, the videos have been shared organically on our social media channels by our social followers and have been picked up by industry members to play at their events. We also partnered with our influencers to create and promote our social content.

Our main brand video aired locally at some of Manitoba’s most iconic events to reach our primary market. At Festival du Voyageur (February 17-23)—a celebration of Métis and French-Canadian heritage and the frosty February weather—the brand video was projected onto a tent.

At a second activation, the video was projected in a small theatre built of snow during the opening of a new pop-up dining experience—The Den—at the world’s largest snow maze.

So far, local tourism operators, Travel Manitoba partners and Manitobans have all enthusiastically received the new brand.

The Result

Our campaign objective was to bring awareness to our refreshed brand, generate site traffic as well as engagement and video views, earn media attention and sell merchandise.

With a budget of $155,000, our campaign with UpHouse garnered over $1.114 million in publicity and reached nearly 150 million people through online and print and an additional 7,500 through radio. The campaign generated over 1.8 million video views, half a million website visits, 40,000 clicks and 26.8 million impressions.

Through Cision Newswire, we reached a potential audience of 56.6 million and generated 34 clippings across Manitoba, Canada, U.S. and Germany.

Online news sites and other influencers were the biggest source of coverage (51.5%) followed by blogs (15.2%) and trade publications (9.1%). Manitoba tourism operators and business owners were interviewed on Global News about their impressions of the new the days following the initial launch.

Local businesses helped amplify our message, creating Manitoba-themed beverages and desserts in support of the new brand (Oh Doughnuts, Parlour Coffee, Flatland Coffee Roasters, and Little Sister Coffee Maker). Businesses shared their products on social media, generating another 1,500 likes combined.

Our earned media reached over 140 million, generated more than 240 media clippings, utilized 19 local influencer partnerships and created $7.3 million USD in value.

There were $3,000 in merchandise sales in just under 90 minutes at the brand launch event.

Countries our campaign covered: Canada, U.S., Germany, and worldwide through online platforms.