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Maid of the Mist: Integrated Marketing Campaign

A New Theme Park Approach Helps Keep Boats Full

“America’s Most Iconic Experience”

Situation

One of America’s oldest and most iconic attractions, Maid of the Mist is a boat tour that gives guests a thrilling (and wet) trip to the bottom of Niagara Falls. Much more than a boat ride, it’s an adventure that has delighted visitors for more than 166 years. However, events such as a challenging global economy, stricter border-crossing passport requirements and the entrance of competing attractions have impacted Maid of the Mist’s business.

Determined to retain its “must-experience-destination” status, Maid of the Mist worked with Mower to re-energize its marketing with more digitally focused campaigns targeted to two key audiences: consumer/family travelers and travel planners. Because Mower has worked with Maid of the Mist since 1989, we were very familiar with the company’s brand, its markets and the competitive challenges in a changing tourism marketplace. Mower also was eager to introduce emerging digital and social media opportunities that could enhance Maid of the Mist’s annual integrated marketing and public relations campaign.

Insight

A bolder, theme-park-like marketing approach

After a social media audit, evaluation of competitive properties’ marketing efforts and consideration of new Maid of the Mist features—including improved guest access, accommodations and an enhanced retail operation—Mower recommended a bolder, theme-park-like marketing approach. While Maid of the Mist over the years has retained its “must-go” status, the brand was facing aggressive competition among day- and weekend-trip visitors from myriad land-based attractions, such as new casinos, aquariums, helicopter excursions and well-known international brands like Ripley’s Believe It or Not®.

Solution

Integrated campaign targets consumers and travel planners

Capitalizing on its research, Mower developed bold new creative that featured a dynamic call to action that would appeal to both consumers and travel planners. All elements of the fully integrated campaign utilized the new core message theme “Explore the Roar,” capturing the sensory thrill experienced by those journeying to the bottom of Niagara Falls on Maid of the Mist vessels.

Elements of the new campaign:

  • Print advertising, targeted toward families and global tour planners
  • Digital marketing on rich-media consumer and travel planning sites globally
  • Website, entirely refreshed with more entertaining content and up-to-date information, such as local weather forecasts and border-crossing wait times
  • Web video, to give guests a taste of the experience
  • Public relations outreach, particularly to jump start the season and celebrate key news events
  • Trade show displays, collateral and premiums
  • Retail merchandising, including store signage and graphics for product signage

The media plan continued to focus on both key consumer and travel planner markets in the United States and Canada within a day’s drive of Niagara Falls. Media buys in major national business-to-business travel magazines featured a more digital focus. Mower’s Public Relations Group also secured editorial exposure in many media outlets.

Results

Increased ticket sales and attendance by 20%

Maid of the Mist experienced record-breaking attendance. In fact, because the new campaign included robust media and public relations activity in key markets within a day’s drive of the attraction, Maid of the Mist has seen tours arranged by American, Canadian and international travel planners increased year over year.

This creative worked so well that, in 2018, Maid of the Mist engaged Mower to evolve the “America’s most Monumental Experience” campaign. Mower developed a bold new campaign, “America’s Most Iconic Experience,” with imagery focused on iconic celebrities.

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