The Sun Valley Tourism Board is using nontraditional media to ask vacation-starved (and possibly uncouth) tourists to respect the Idaho city while enjoying their visit.
The mission of “Stay Sunny” is to teach out-of-towners how they do things in the Valley, says Scott Cromer, creative director, Two Things, the Portland, Oregon and New York-based agency behind the campaign.
“It’s a reminder that if you’re kind and considerate, you’ll be welcomed into the family,” Cromer says. “And if you’re not, you’ll likely be on the next horse out of town.”
Creative relies on media such as chalked sidewalks, a construction site mural, a digital portal, golf balls and bumper stickers, he says.
“Showing up in unexpected ways has made the campaign feel even more authentic,” Cromer tells Marketing Daily. “The money we saved from not doing a traditional media buy has allowed us to do more collabs with local artists and vendors. This has become a point of pride for the whole team, to conceptualize ideas that can be produced or executed locally.”
The city has been regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the country, but for years has existed in relative obscurity. That all changed with the pandemic. Almost overnight, Sun Valley became the place to be, according to the tourism board.
Tourists hungry for serenity flooded the valley in droves. And the locals tasked with satisfying their myriad needs became, in a word, overwhelmed.
The Sun Valley Tourism Board was suddenly forced to shift priorities from attracting new guests, to protecting the local way of life from too many guests.
Two Things started with a simple call-to-action, “Stay Sunny,” (also the campaign’s tagline) to reflect the optimistic spirit of the Valley. But they also needed a voice that, like the locals, felt honest and to the point, and invited tourists in happily, as long as they were kind and respectful.
Ads are being placed throughout Sun Valley with different messages for different locations. Each creative piece is informed by a pain point Sun Valley wanted to address and uses humor with the aim of diffusing the situation.
The effort also includes partnerships with local shops and restaurants and used local businesses for campaign production, to help support the local community.
One element being shared in restaurants is a QR code that directs patrons to a “patience portal” with trivia and other time passers to keep patrons entertained while they await their food.