LA INC – The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau
Regaining LA’s Starshine After 9/11
How do you get more foreign tourists to visit LA following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks? From 2000 to 2005, LA tourism fell by 25%, with the most dramatic decrease, 36%, from the Asian countries of China, Korea and Japan. In order to spark recovery in Asia, in the fall of 2002 The Cimarron Group developed an advertising campaign called “See My LA.” It leveraged a powerful feature that is unique to LA to invite travelers to come visit – celebrities.
The campaign featured over 40 popular celebrities highlighting their favorite things to do and see in LA. The advertising appeared across print, outdoor, online and trade advertising in the US and overseas in the UK, Japan, Korea, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Canada and South America in five different languages—English, Japanese, Korean, German and Spanish.
Marketing & Sales Results
The “See My LA” campaign successfully reversed the downward trend in tourism from Asia, and positive growth continued to be seen each year after. Due to its success overseas, the campaign was launched as the domestic brand platform in 2003 and featured hot celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Ryan Seacrest and Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood. LA INC. credited the “See My LA” campaign with helping drive increases in tourism to Los Angeles. The Daily News announced that LA was back on the tourist map, stating “a record 24.9 million tourists visited Los Angeles (in 2005) and provided a $12.7 billion boost to the local economy” (Daily News 1/4/06).
The most unique aspect of Los Angeles is Hollywood and its celebrities, and based on the “relationships” people have with celebrities, a personal endorsement for LA would have the same effect as a good friend sharing a travel secret.
How The Idea Changed The Business
The Cimarron Group showed that even in the wake of adversity, tourism can flourish. By using celebrities as spokespeople for Los Angeles, Cimarron put a warm and welcoming face on the city and were able to entice foreign and domestic travelers to come visit LA. “See My LA” remained the flagship campaign of LA INC through 2009.
Campaign Role: Vice-President, Client Services - The Cimarron Group