Outperforming Competition With More Memorable Summer Ads

Travel Wisconsin

May 30, 2022

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism is on a mission to market the state of Wisconsin as one of America's premier travel destinations under the brand name Travel Wisconsin. The cabinet agency launched its 2022 summer campaign "Here's to Those Who Wisconsin" to encourage travelers to experience shared moments of joy in a way that is unique to Wisconsin.

But before pushing the Hiebing-produced TV ad to market, Travel Wisconsin aimed to affirm that they deliver the most engaging and memorable TV spot possible.

The tourism industry comes back strong in 2022

The outlook for tourism in 2022 is really optimistic. "We feel a huge obligation at the Department of Tourism to make sure we're putting out an ad that compels the people to book Wisconsin," shares Anne Sayers, Secretary-designee of Travel Wisconsin. "We have really high standards for ourselves, so our campaign ad must be as memorable as our state. We are going in as big as we possibly can, but we are grounding it all in science. We know we can't outspend our competitors, but we can certainly outsmart them!"

Using Explore to make data-driven creative decisions

Anne and Chief Marketing Officer, Shane Brossard, needed to find an affordable but quick solution to evaluate their campaign's potential without wasted spending. It was vital for the agency to captivate the audience, secure high motivation, and, last but not least, outperform their biggest competitor, Pure Michigan, the travel and tourism agency for Michigan.

Anne and Shane's team decided to partner up with Neurons to predict the performance of the upcoming campaign video while exploiting the opportunities in consumer neuroscience.

The Research study focused on observing attentional, emotional, and cognitive responses to two summer ads: one of Travel Wisconsin's and the other one from their main competitor, Pure Michigan. The research team used EEG and eye-tracking tools to measure these responses in two different participant groups in two locations: Milwaukee and Chicago. The participants were shown a series of TV commercials embedded within a filler TV show to ensure natural exposure to the ads. After the study, Neurons provided complete data cleansing, pre-processing and quality assessment, and correction of all biometric and neuroimaging data.

Working with a dedicated Neurons research team, Travel Wisconsin was able to measure the test audience's emotional and cognitive responses as well as their motivation. "The results of the behavioral tests allow us to make data-driven decisions to help ensure that every single scene in the ads resonates as strongly as possible with the viewers," Shane pointed out.

Sparking motivation and outperforming competitors

Only a few days after conducting the custom study in the US, Anne and Shane's team received the learnings along with further guidance and recommendations on how to make the TV ad even more memorable to the audience and improve their memory of Wisconsin. 

As Shane highlighted, "We learned that the Travel Wisconsin ad outperformed the Michigan tourism ad in several key factors. We can use the data and the results of that testing to inform how we differentiate our future advertising from that." The "Here's to Those Who Wisconsin" TV ad had several scenes that scored high, especially for positive motivation. It proved to be a very motivating ad that made people feel both engaged while also wanting to travel.

"It is so important that we get this right," told Anna. "You always hope that your creative is going to land, but what a gift to be actually able to measure it. That's what we got to do this time, and now we don't just think that we're going to make a huge impact: we know it. All of that adds up to more hotel visits, more restaurants, more attraction visits, and ticket purchases. It really feels good that we have put an ad forward that gets the job done."

To learn more about how other teams use Predict, Explore and Research, you can read about Total Media & Behave and Lowe's.