Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Spot

“A Tangled Tale” invites experienced travelers to discover the beauty of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Responses by Dave Sullivan, creative group head/copywriter, Target Marketing & Communications Inc.

Background: Through a creative platform based in storytelling, our one-minute thirty-second television commercial “A Tangled Tale” was designed to ignite the imagination of experienced travellers in Canada, encouraging them to interact with our brand, while, at the same time, conveying a sense of urgency to visit a place that’s overflowing with stories.

Reasoning: Storytelling is relevant to our target audience of experienced travellers; plus, it’s a rich, emotional area to leverage in creating powerful and differentiating advertising. The people you’ll meet here are natural born storytellers. But it’s more than a simple knack for telling tales. Like the commercial says, “Around here, you’ll hear stories. And they’re all true. Especially the bits they make up.”

Challenges: When you live in a place that’s filled with all kinds of stories and storytellers, and so steeped in that tradition, it can be a daunting task to wrap your arms around the idea. However, our copy managed to handle this challenge quite nicely by focusing on what types of stories you’ll hear, where you’ll hear them and the kind of people you’re likely to hear one of these yarns from.

Favorite details: The inclusion of some of our local storytellers in the spot. Throughout, you’ll see filmmakers, visual artists, poets, musicians, actors and even a professional clown. It brings us a great sense of pride to have these storytellers represented.

Visual influences: Here, in Newfoundland and Labrador, there’s no shortage of inspiration. There is a story behind just about everything, even the sheep! The sheep in the spot are being transported by a small boat, or a skiff, to essentially mow or maintain the grass on a nearby island. Also, the Newfoundland dogs that are seen in the ad are often tagged as local heroes. There are stories of them saving babies out of sinking ships, guiding people out of the forest and scaring away would-be attackers.

In regards to the birds, they are attracted to the bait on board fishers’ boats, and will often come along in hopes of a tasty morsel or two. The scene was shot just outside of a fish plant in a small community called St. Lawrence. On a related note, the final shot in the spot that says “Call Shannon” is actually Chamber Cove in St. Lawrence. It was the site of the wreck of the USS Truxtun and USS Pollux, two American Naval vessels that ran aground here back in the ’40s.

Anything new: Overall, we learned to let things happen organically. In many ways though, we enabled the landscape, people and stories we captured—along with the copy—to dictate what the final spot should be. It made for a richer, fuller and more dynamic experience in the end.