In the summer of 2020, HMI and Tourism Nova Scotia launched the Creator House concept and invited influencers to experience Nova Scotia. The initiative was aptly renamed Creator Coast as this was the first province-wide campaign and did not focus on a single locale.
Conceived and launched amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, involving creators outside of the inter-provincial ‘Atlantic bubble’ was not possible. Instead, a diverse group of local creators were invited to take part and explore Nova Scotia with a fresh perspective. Additionally, due to postponements from COVID-19 restrictions, the campaign ended up taking place in the summer and fall of 2020, as well as in February, 2021.
In total, 29 creators had the opportunity to independently explore and experience their assigned region throughout phase one and phase two of the program. The influencers helped develop the itineraries and organically shared their adventures and experiences to their channels using #CreatorCoastNS while simultaneously gathering assets for Tourism Nova Scotia to use in future marketing endeavours.
This project, based on the original concept developed by HMI, and executed in collaboration with Tourism Nova Scotia, brought together regional partners and local operators to offer the creators exceptional experiences.
The intention of the campaign was to:
- Showcase each region of Nova Scotia through the eyes of locals with a fresh perspective.
- Push local creators to use creativity and curiosity to explore.
- Enable experiences that drive online conversation and interest in the destination.
- Create an authentic conversation about the destination with the influencer’s audience.
- Produce a continuous stream of shareable and original content from Nova Scotia.
- Generate digital assets for use by Tourism Nova Scotia and their partners.
Creators were invited to apply and selected based not just on the size of their audience, but on the authenticity of their following and unique perspectives they could bring to the campaign. From invitation to each trip’s completion, HMI and Tourism Nova Scotia worked with the influencers to ensure they had whatever they needed to catapult their content. Through this process, creative and exciting content was produced across multiple mediums and channels.
The strategy included:
- Vetting applicants deeply to only select creators with an authentic and engaged audience.
- Selecting creators that would bring excitement and fun to showcase Nova Scotia with a fresh perspective.
- Working closely with local operators to give the creators once-in-a-lifetime (but replicable) experiences.
- Partnering with a notable Canadian Instagram account – @imagesofcanada – to further push Creator Coast content for one whole week on Instagram feed and stories. HMI and Tourism Nova Scotia curated the images and captions to highlight a different creator and a different region each day.
- In addition to the creator’s efforts, in partnership with Mint Content, Tourism Nova Scotia sponsored two episodes to be aired on the Bell Fibe TV channel. Mint used two content creator teams, A For Adventure and David & Skylar, to film the content and gather assets highlighting winter in Cape Breton. Social posts from the shoot were posted to A For Adventure channels, photo assets were captured by David & Skylar, and TV footage/b-roll was taken by Mint Content which will be available for Tourism Nova Scotia and their partners to use.
Influencers by region – Summer
Cape Breton: Chris Leger, Kyler McGregor, Janik Robichaud, Brad Bodnarchuk, Lora Pope, Ayngelina Brogan, Cailin O’Neil
South Shore: Dany Duguay, Kayla Short, Tom Joseph Scaria
Halifax: Audrey & Samuel, Jan LaPierre, Chris Surette, Jessica Emin
Bay of Fundy | Annapolis Valley: Chuck Wrathall, Anna & Trevor Delaney, Sara & Brent MacIsaac, Adam Hill
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores: Audrey Favre, Jake Brenner, David Anderson & Skylar McDonald
Influencers by region – Winter
Cape Breton: Jake Brenner, Mint Content
Colchester County: Ayngelina Brogan
Halifax: David Anderson & Skylar McDonald
Bay of Fundy | Annapolis Valley: Michelle Doucette
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores: Kyler McGregor
The content produced crossed over multiple genres including food, travel, photography, lifestyle, nature, and history. Millions of people were organically reached across all major social media platforms, blogs, and podcasts. The results below reflect the entire phase one and phase two Creator Coast results as a whole.
- 6.7 million+ total organic reach
- 235,000+ total engagement
- 685+ assets obtained
Instagram: 218 posts generated nearly 138,000 engagements and had a reach of over 2.86 million.
Instagram (Other): Almost 2.9 million people were reached via Instagram stories, IGTV & Reels videos.
YouTube: 32 videos garnered over 183,000 views.
Facebook: 137 posts attracted 77,470+ engagements and reached over 572,750 people.
Twitter: 84 tweets reached over 212,000+ people and received nearly 10,000 engagements.
Blogs: 23 unique blog posts attracted 25,050+ visitors. Additionally, 7 posts were created for use on NovaScotia.com.
Podcasts: 11 podcasts about Nova Scotia and #CreatorCoastNS were created and downloaded by over 3,000 people.
Radio: 2 interviews with an influencer about Creator Coast aired on CBC Radio and reached 100,000 people.
Television: 2 television episodes featuring Cape Breton in winter aired on Bell Fibe TV in late 2021 with an unimaginable reach.
Assets: Tourism Nova Scotia acquired rights to 687 images and over 60 minutes of video footage for their own marketing use and their partners.
“Curve ball after curve ball, HMI not only stepped up to the plate with new ideas and solutions, they hit it out of the park with the results despite all the challenges COVID threw at us. Whatever we asked, the response was always immediate and positive. We could not have executed such a large campaign in the best of times, let alone COVID times, without the expertise and fantastically organized team at HMI. It’s a treat to work with such a professional, innovative and motivated team who were able to help us leverage our assets to meet our mutual goals … all the while achieving impressive results and making it seem effortless! When it is safe to welcome the world again, our first call will be to the HMI team to implement Creator Coast once again, the way we originally planned!” – Pamela Wamback of Tourism Nova Scotia (Media Relations Specialist)
“Being part of the Creator Coast campaign was an amazing experience! Having the freedom to create my own itinerary allowed me to discover so many incredible natural wonders in Nova Scotia like Egypt Falls and create content that I know my audience would be engaged with. HMI were fantastic to work thought the entire process. They made the trip planning process smooth, quickly answering any questions I had before coming and while on the trip. Campaign requirements were clear from the start and they made it easy for us to present our deliverables to Nova Scotia Tourism. This was the most well-run press trip I have ever been on!” – Lora Pope of Explore With Lora (Creator)
“What an amazing experience! Creator Coast has been one of the most enjoyable partnerships I’ve dealt with. It gave me the leisure of creating content on my own terms, which is where I can produce and succeed at my absolute best. Creator Coast allowed me to explore new regions and experience activities that I have not yet been apart of. Meeting new people and making connections is a huge key when travelling for me. Not only did this experience offer that to me, but those connections I was able to make has opened my eyes in so many different directions. Everything was so well put together which made my experience as easy as ‘click’. I truly hope to be apart of this again someday.” – Jake Brenner of Jake’s Escapes (Creator)
“Creator Coast was a breath of fresh air during an unpredictable year and a program we are so thankful to have been a part of. As newer creators to the scene, we were able to expand our knowledge, portfolio, and contacts in the most organic way possible thanks to the freedom of curating our own itinerary. This meant we could focus on the content and times of day that would best showcase our beautiful home province of Nova Scotia and not be tied to strict itineraries holding us back. What happens when you have the freedom to create? More genuine love for the experiences you’re promoting, and audiences can totally see that! Huge thanks to Tawny and the team for having us on, being fabulous to communicate with, and allowing our dogs to join some of our travels with us! It was a refreshing, and meaningful press trip that we know tourism operators are very grateful for. ” – David And Skylar of Davey and Sky (Creators)