US Tour Operators Association
Redpoint the Matchmaker: We Found Them the Perfect Dance Partner.
To help combat the stigma of fanny packs, motorcoaches, and herds of travelers being shepherded around in bulk, client United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) asked us, “how can we make group tours super cool?” Limited social media presence and fledgling direct-to-consumer marketing channels meant that USTOA lacked the credibility and tools to carry the “joys of traveling together” message to consumers, and have it break through the clutter. So we sought a high-profile marketing partner to create a halo effect of awareness, credibility, and personality.
International viral video sensation “Dancing Matt” Harding provided the perfect entrée for USTOA into social media society. Matt was selected as a partner for his well-established brand as a global travel inspiration, his communication “joie de vivre,” his fanatical social media audience (100+ million YouTube views, etc.), and his status as a consumer media darling. After two successful videos dancing solo around the world, Matt’s 3rd and 4th videos married the joy of dancing + travel with groups in local cultures around the world, making him the ideal ambassador for the benefits of group travel. The partnership was announced at USTOA’s 2012 conference with a surprise “dance with Matt” session, and video opportunities for all the association’s members. We launched an internal campaign to secure member sponsors to send Matt to dance with US tour groups around the world.
And then…no small feat…we planned his 70,000 mile, six continent, nine countries-in-90-days trip from soup to nuts, to produce a joyful one minute video that we launched with aggressive social media and PR outreach following a red carpet debut screening, complete with paparazzi and all.
The results? In just eight weeks, all campaign goals were surpassed. Social media reach exceeded 8 million in a flash, and to date, the video has received more than 500,000 views on YouTube (and counting). A “Be Inspired to Travel Like Matt” Facebook sweepstakes earned a viral reach of 125,000 people with 2,000 unique entries, and hundreds of tweets from leading travel journalists/influencers…all of which increased the Facebook fan base by more than 100%. Media impressions exceed 150 million, and diverse media coverage ranged from the cover of USA Today’s travel section, to a 14-minute segment on HuffPost Live, in-market TV segments, and extensive online interviews/coverage with leading travel bloggers and media. Support and enthusiasm from USTOA members/partners was so strong that twenty of them signed up to sponsor the initiative, and a dedicated travel trade campaign (which included a customizable microsite for agents to share the video with their clients) gave additional ROI for their support.