Seattle really wants creative visitors. Visit Seattle is making a push to draw in millennial arts and culture travelers with its latest campaign from Publicis Seattle, “Been There, Made That."
The campaign’s first episode, now available on VisitSeattle.tv, features an arts bent with New York musician, Grammy nominee Emily King, wandering around the Emerald City getting inspired to create a song.
King walks through the neighborhoods, visiting iconic areas like the King Street Station, Emerald City Guitars (with Seattle guitarist Alan Stone), and the outdoor A Sound Garden, while putting together a song with her brother. She is inspired by the sights and sounds of the city, and the video captures her sense of discovery and wonder.
The digital series will continue with its second episode on Oct. 6th with Caldecott Medal Winner Chris Raschka, a children’s storybook creator and artist. Future episodes will feature Jimenez Lai (Oct. 26), the founder of Bureau Spectacular, which imagines other worlds and engages the design of architecture through telling stories; and Jeni Britton Brauer (Nov. 16), founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, who creates a Seattle-centric flavor.
Publicis Seattle created the video series in partnership with Vox Media. It’s one of three new branded content programs premiering as part of the fall lineup for Visit Seattle. The other two are: “Culture Trippers,” a video series premiering September 21 on VisitSeattle.tv and in partnership with travel media company Matador, exploring the depth of subcultures in Seattle through influencer meet-ups and cinematography; and Season 5 of “Sounds by the Sound” on Revolt TV, which will feature an interview and performance by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
The growth of Seattle.tv
Seattle has been a talked-about town since the World’s Fair in 1962 that launched the Space Needle. In the early ’90s it became a musical destination for all things grunge, but as a true travel destination, Seattle didn’t start happening until recently, when people saw beyond the flannel and the rain. Visit Seattle decided to court visitors beyond the usual brochure, launching VisitSeattle.tv.
“I think about 18 months ago, we looked at what was happening in travel, what was happening with an audience we identified as a right market for Seattle, what was happening with other city brands and where we wanted to take Seattle. We said, ‘Okay, video consumption is how travel decisions are made today, regardless if that's how I choose where I want to go, what I want to do in that city. At any point along the traveler journey, if you will, video is playing a more and more important role,” said Britt Fero, chief strategy and media officer at Publicis Seattle, the agency of record for Visit Seattle.
“In addition, we said, ‘Seattle has started to make a name for itself, obviously as a creative city, a progressive city, not just another place to go, and another thing to go do.’ That's a factor. We want to start telling a brand story that reflects that. We want people to know why they should come here, not just what to do when you decide to come here,” she said.
“Third, our audience, as we looked at them, we call them the 'advenculturists'. We found that what they're attracted to is anything that's intellectually stimulating. For them, travel is a huge part of that, but also, if you look at a lot of even their viewing behaviors, on TV and things like that, they're your HBO watchers, your ‘Breaking Bad’ watchers, all of that. We said, ‘How do you take all three of those things, and turn that into something that could pull people into the story of Seattle?’ We said, ‘what if we stop thinking like a destination marketing organization and started thinking like a production company, or a content creator?’ Collectively we joined forces and said, ‘We're going to become the preeminent content creator for the city of Seattle,’ not just a destination marketing organization for this city. At the center of that is going sit something called visitseattle.tv and we're going to create partnerships where we can serve entertainment-based content that pulls people into what makes Seattle so special as a destination,” she said.
The channel has been a place to help grow content and buzz for the city, and working with other organizations has helped broaden the reach for visitors. Take the new campaign as an example. Working with Vox Media on “Been There, Made That” helped them tell the unique story of the city with a rich and textured experience and encapsulate the creativity and progressive nature of the city.
“Collectively, we came up with this idea of what if you could document bringing five different or a series of different makers in different ways; people who are creative in and of their own right? What if we brought them here to spend a few days and get inspired – to go take that inspiration and show off that inspiration through their craft?” asked Fero.
They reached out across America and found King, who was inspired to write a song, artist Chris Raschka, who created amazing illustrations and Jeni Britton Bauer, an ice cream maker from Columbus, Ohio who created a flavor inspired by the city.
“It's really a manifestation of the way in which this city transforms you and how this city breathes creativity into people,” said Fero. “I think the thing that becomes consistent is this really interesting intersection of urban and nature that you've got this amazing metropolis with all the art, cultures, music, all of that into a city that also sits in the middle of Mother Nature and allows you to pull from natural resources.”
If you air it, they will come, hopes Fero.