CTV Edmonton reported yesterday that Travel Alberta estimates that the Bachelorette romantic weekend in Edmonton has already netted them $500,000.00 in earned media exposure from tweets and magazine articles as a result of their $20,000.00 investment to bring the Bachelorette couple to Edmonton.
Is this estimate of any real value to Albertans? Statements about the “entertainment value” of the Bachelorette seem to be at the heart of the sentiment within the reactions by Albertans on Twitter and Facebook. I suppose, anytime Alberta can be showcased in a positive way Travel Alberta is heading down the right path to rebuilding our image. Yes, we need to invest solving the homeless issue in Edmonton, yes we need better roads and YES we need to invest in positive communications about Alberta to the rest of the world. Are the lovebirds the right way to go about that? Well women out there like them I suppose. Whether Ashley and JP managed to convince those women to take a vacation to Edmonton is up for debate. In this case, Travel Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation are focused on “inbound” traffic to the province with this effort. We can talk about ourselves all we want, that wasn’t the focus of this effort. This isn’t primarily about the opinion of Edmontonians about Edmonton or Albertans taking a “staycation”, it’s about the opinions of those who watch the Bachelorette TV series.
Bachelorette Value Proposition
Will the $20,000.00 investment impact the travel decisions among 18-34 women towards Edmonton and Alberta?
All due respect to the Travel Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation teams involved in this romantic getaway, but I’m curious if the marketing plan, (the specifics of which Albertans are generally unaware of) includes more E-list celebrity paid vacations or on-location broadcasts (Live with Kelly in Banff, AB which generated decent TV exposure) as the central strategy.
No one on either team would argue that there’s nothing new about a celebrity endorsement strategy. So if that’s their plan, what are these teams doing to maximize the effect of these investments given the digital communication bounty that’s now possible when you have the considerable resources that both these organizations do? What’s their digital strategy?
Well, let’s take a peek shall we…
To justify this investment the following question is asked. How much money would it cost to purchase the same level of media exposure for the province on all platforms reached? Earned media exposure is almost always preferable. I suppose even if that media exposure has Richard Wong from Travel Alberta defending the expenditure based on the question above as he did in this CTV Edmonton piece.
This investment is not a complete digital flop. However, it is in my opinion, “shallow” in terms of it’s meaningful penetration and lasting positive effect for the province and City of Edmonton, especially on a digital communications level. Sure, everything including this blog post is “fleeting” to some degree. However I believe there should have been much more “bump” then there is currently showing. My focus here is to loosely identify whether this effort managed to penetrate the deeper levels of lasting online discussion that might actually lead to swaying opinions, sentiment and ultimately lead to action by the Bachelorette audience or passive online observers. Afterall, we weren’t retained in advance to create a digital strategy to support this initiative, and we haven’t been retained to analyze the data afterwards so that the next effort is more powerful and hopefully more positive here at home. As a result, this post will not be a formal report of the massive amount of potential data needed to be assembled to truly confirm whether Travel Alberta and Edmonton Ec Dev achieved the required conversion rates to justify the expenditures. Which are more than $20,000.00 by the way, because there were two teams who planned this event and those teams are doing post-morteums about the campaign and may also include this blog post and others as we speak. The investment of their time should also be considered in the resource budget.
Ultimately, perception is reality for most Albertans currently talking about this lovers retreat, and the related sentiment, and perception isn’t positive. There’s more out there than just Mack’s tweet but he made me laugh…and he posted a blog entry of his own.
Take for example the hashtag #TravelAlberta seen here on tweetreach.com
Yes this is low engagement at the time I took this screen shot and frankly, this isn’t the primary hashtag for success in terms of this investment. Thank-goodness too, did you happen to notice the negative sentiment regarding the Bachelorette investment?
We should look at the relevant hashtags and Twitter accounts related directly to the Bachelorette audience. Afterall, that’s the audience Travel Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corp paid to tap into on our behalf, hoping to reach them in a multitude of ways.
Let’s just look at JP Rosenbaum. He has over 100K followers so when he tweets I would expect a minimum of what you’re seeing here. This might look big but actually, if JP was truly reaching people this number should be 3X, 4X or 5X what it shows here at least. Notice there is no significant retweeting. Notice that David Staples of the Edmonton Journal and the Hotel MacDonald accounts are contributing here. Essentially, we’re talking about ourselves.
These are just a few small examples of how one might start looking at these types of investments. If digital conversion isn’t considered beyond simple tweets, Facebook fan pages and media exposure, I believe we aren’t looking at the entire picture and I believe we aren’t achieving all that we can.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the Bachelorette television series, I’m also not the show’s target market being a man, and older than 18-34. The decision for recreational travel to Alberta by outsiders is most likely made by the woman of the household today. This is also the person generally who controls most consumer purchases at home, and frankly owns the Internet outright now too.
Did both Bachelorette participants tweet about their trip to Edmonton? Yes, did it seem to stop their followers in their tracks and get them to start asking a series of questions of what it’s like here in Edmonton? No. If fact, the real traction this campaign managed to garner online is of people communicating a negative sentiment for the $20,000.00 expenditure which by the way, isn’t that large in reality. The issue for most I feel isn’t the exact number but the value in return. Albertans at large are probably unaware of Travel Alberta’s marketing intentions so here’s a link to their Brand Workbook.
One doesn’t have to have direct tourism experience to see what Travel Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development were attempting to accomplish with this effort. All you need do is go to the Travel Alberta website and read about “free spirits and cultural explorers.” Not to put words in Travel Alberta’s mouth but my interpretation is that they believe that’s who watches the Bachelorette.
Interestingly though it seems this particular campaign generally ignores the “baby boomer” population. This is the other demographic that has disposable income and loves to travel. I’m excited to see what Travel Alberta does next to promote our great province abroad. Might I suggest this demographic next?
Ultimately, whatever you think of this idea, I do think we left some digital roses on the table…
Do you love or hate the Bachelorette strategy overall?