Target shows that some visitors come to Newfoundland and Labrador for the weather


Who: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, with Target for strategy, creative and media; Artjail for post production; and VillageWorks Content Co for sound and music.

What: “The Weather,” a new broadcast ad which anchors a larger integrated campaign encouraging tourists to visit the province earlier in the year, before the peak summer travel season. The campaign continues the tourism marketer’s long-running “Find Yourself” platform, and plays with the insight that nobody visits Newfoundland and Labrador for the weather.

When & Where: 60- 30- and 15-second broadcast spots launched on television on Jan. 15 for a 15-week media buy, followed by national and regional newspaper placements, as well as extended digital video via paid social, pre-roll and connected TV running until early October.

Why: It’s the goal of every tourism brand to extend the visitation season out of summer, into the spring and fall, but that becomes particularly difficult for Newfoundland and Labrador where the weather can be cooler and wet year round. It’s a well known fact amongst locals and tourists alike that nobody visits the province for the weather, which is why Target decided to use an atypical messaging strategy to place the focus on the provinces’ other offerings instead.

“Research shows that top travel motivators to NL [Newfoundland and Labrador] are whales, icebergs, and seabirds, so this campaign taps into those bucket list items,” Target’s president Catherine Kelly, told The Message. “Spring is when this place starts to come alive with icebergs, puffins and whales; it’s a spectacular and differentiating season that the client wants more travellers to be aware of, and to come and experience for themselves.”

How (the strategy): Some tourism brands change from season to season to stay relevant, but The Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism brand has long relied on consistent imagery and messaging.

The campaign is built for timelessness and not trendiness, explained Kelly, broadcast spots created in such a way that they can run for years–strengthening the distinctive brand positioning over time and maximizing returns for every dollar spent.

“We resist the temptation to reinvent the brand annually. Instead, each year, we strategically build on campaign success with new Find Yourself stories across new platforms,” she said. “Each new campaign reinforces that NL offers authentic experiences, awe-inspiring natural landscapes, dramatic wildlife and nature, and an opportunity for travelers to ‘find themselves’ through a slower pace of life. More importantly, we’ve effectively positioned the brand as the antidote to hustle culture – fresh air with a moment to actually take a breath.”

How (the creative): The 60-second spot opens with classic beauty shots of mostly desolate Newfoundland and Labrador landscape, while the melodic vocals of local singer-songwriter Nico Paulo resonate in the background.

The first real sign of life is a puffin emerging from its den into the light, to evoke the province coming alive in spring. The rest of the spot presents a montage of motion—fish speeding through the water, birds taking flight, even children frolicking.

“We’ve heard it said nobody comes here for the weather,” says a narrator. “And yet, every spring, here they are. This is Newfoundland and Labrador in bloom.”

Kelly said it makes sense for the brand to use this tone because the content is so unique. Whereas most spring tourism campaigns feature flowers in bloom, in Newfoundland the attraction for potential tourists is the wildlife and unusual natural landscape.

“[‘Weather’] is a reflection of our brand personality that’s informed by a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour and how we see the world a little differently,” said Kelly. “The weather in NL is unpredictable at best, but that’s part of the adventure. And even though we say nobody comes here for the weather, many people leave refreshed, with a true appreciation of our mild temperatures and fresh ocean air.”