The Magic of Good Summer Vacations and Great Vacation Marketing Campaigns

With warmer days upon us, my mind wanders to thoughts of summer vacation—the magic of warm evenings, the sense of freedom, and the adventures it promises to bring.

I recently read an article in the Chicago Tribune about a lesser known beach town in Rhode Island. The author ruminated on his decision to write the article, knowing that his words would attract people to his hidden gem. He wanted to hold that place close, preserve it, and have it be everything he always experienced each time he traveled there. In the end, he figured a few extra tourists wouldn’t spoil the spot he held so sacred. The way he described the feeling of the place, the food, the sunsets, the water, the outdoor showers (who doesn’t love a good outdoor shower after a sunny, sandy day at the beach!), the slow pace, and the sense of family, took me back to my summers as a child. We traveled to the northeast every summer to visit my grandparents who lived in Cape Cod, MA. Those summers fostered some of the best memories of my life.  But what is it about those vacations? Is it the place? The experiences? The time with family? The pace? The innocence? Maybe it’s a combination of those things. A good vacation marketing campaign captures all of it.

Travel and vacation destinations are big business. When a marketing campaign does an amazing job at grasping and relaying the sense of time and place, it can stop you in your tracks. One really great campaign that stands out to me is Pure Michigan. The commercials are narrated by Tim Allen and are done in such a way that even the pace of the commercial relays the pace of the place, all in 30 seconds. It doesn’t feel rushed, and the imagery and narrative make you take notice.

Every time a travel commercial comes on the television I find myself stopping to watch, and longing for a vacation, maybe to Michigan! Pure Michigan is by no means a new campaign. It was launched in 2008, but it was so successful they also revamped their logo and website to match the theme, and it has had the legs to stay relevant into the present. It wasn’t simply a one-off summer campaign that was done once the leaves started to change colors!

A more recent campaign that really grabbed me, mostly for its humor, is the Las Vegas “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign. In one of the commercials a woman comes home from Vegas and tells her husband how much fun she had, pulling out her sketchbook to show him her “sketches” instead of photos of all that happened while there. It’s impactful because it’s so appropriate for what we think of Vegas. They never show a single image of Las Vegas. It was the feeling and reputation they captured. Maybe this campaign won’t quite have the staying power of Pure Michigan, but the wit and relevance sure do make it memorable.

 

 

Another campaign with a clever twist, is the new Sweden Airbnb campaign.  In Sweden there is a national concept of “freedom to roam” meaning anyone has the right to access, walk, cycle, or camp on any land (with exceptions of private residences, and a few other restrictions). According to the site sweden.withairbnb.com.  .  . “it’s a home with all the necessities and amenities that any great home should have. It’s a place where you can eat berries from the ground, sleep under the stars, swim in the lakes and roam freely. To make this home available for everyone, Sweden has listed the entire country on Airbnb.” It’s a revolutionary idea for a country, and it’s causing quite a stir.

 

 

Vacation marketing must convey the magic of a place, and answer the question, “Why go there?” at a deep level for viewers.  Marketing can’t create unique vacation experiences, but it sure can help you find the place to make those memories happen.

Maybe it’s the fast times we live in, always rushing from one demand to the next, always tuned in to technology, that makes us long for a slower time, where we can actually take a few breaths and feel the sun on our face and the sand beneath our feet. Vacations provide just that, a respite. So with summer just around the corner, remember to take a moment, or several moments, to pause and recharge. Better yet, take a vacation! Don’t let the days slip by. Grab your family and head to that special summer spot that lets you feel reconnected, and don’t forget to find an outside shower to rinse off your sandy toes.

ER headshot Erin Rogers, Creative Director at Jet Marketing

Erin is currently researching her next vacation destination and would love to hear all about your favorite spot!


The Latest in Web Trends

webtrends

While recently researching the latest in web design for an upcoming project, we came across some surprising (and some not-so-surprising) trends and best practices for the new year and thought we’d share.

  1. Phase Out Sliders and Sidebars.

The slider (also known as a photo carousel) has been incredibly popular, but when looking for conversions and engaging your audience it’s best to steer clear. They are often a distraction that users skim right past. They don’t have the patience to wait for each message to appear, and even if they are interested, the message often automatically forwards to the next one before allowing the user to fully engage with the previous.

People think that if they cram as many messages as possible above the “fold”, they will maximize their impact. In reality, their message is diluted or ignored. Worse yet, people may click away from their site.

With mobile devices being the most widely used way users interact on the internet, a scrolling website is your best option. Users are accustomed to and actually expect to scroll through sites. Make the most impact by having a powerful image and succinct copy and a call to action as the first thing a user will see on your site. That will draw them in and encourage scrolling down to see more content.

Sidebars are similar to sliders –  often ignored.  You have extremely limited time to capture your audience’s attention, so don’t complicate it with more static  like a sidebar.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for sliders and sidebars. Sliders are a great way to showcase your portfolio – but they certainly aren’t for every site, and they definitely don’t belong at the top of your homepage.

 

  1. Larger Fonts and Better Imagery.

This may seem like a no-brainer – but bigger fonts lead to bigger impact, especially when people are using mobile devices more and more. Readability is crucial. Keep the content succinct and to the point. A call to action is another helpful way to draw readers in and lead to conversions.

Having authentic, original imagery that occupies a large amount of real estate on your site is a great way to capture and hold attention. You don’t need  lots of images, just a few impactful ones. The human brain can process an image 60,000 times faster than text.* Having powerful imagery helps the viewer to understand much more quickly what you are trying to convey.

 

  1. Using Semi-Flat design vs. Flat design

Flat design is a style that has no glossy or three-dimensional visual effects. It became popular with the release of Microsoft’s Metro design language and Windows 8 in 2011, along with Apple’s homepage in 2013.** It focuses on minimalism in terms of design.

It used to be apparent to click when something was either blue, underlined, or had 3-D effects. With flat design, it became more difficult to detect linked elements. Therefore Semi-Flat design has evolved to correct these issues. It adds subtle depth and dimension with shadows and shading, which has helped to mitigate the issues of flat design.

While still maintaining the sharp and sophisticated look of a Flat design, Semi-Flat design can improve usability on your site, which in turn can lead to the all important conversion.

 

  1. Video is on the Rise.

While video has long been around, it is becoming more and more powerful as a tool for storytelling and marketing. It is compelling, instantly engaging and quickly draws in its audience. Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%. *** And by 2020, video will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic.****

Video needs to load and play quickly, because impact is lost if a viewer is waiting for it to load. All you need to create compelling video content is a smartphone so get started today!

 

  1. Simplify Your Navigation.

Complicated navigation systems create way too many options for people and can actually drive them away. Having clear, concise labels that allow readers to know what is in each category provides better usability. For example, don’t use adjectives, instead pick short, predictable words. The easier it is for a reader to navigate your site, the more likely they are to stay and click around.

 

These are just a few of the many trends happening in web design, but we think they’re some of the most important.  They’ll help get you going in the right direction with staying on top of the latest strategies in excellent web design and presence.

 

Sources:

* http://www.business2community.com/digital-marketing/visual-marketing-pictures-worth-60000-words-01126256

** https://www.nngroup.com/articles/flat-design/

*** https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics#sm.000005pswuag36cweqpnrdp1zt26s

**** http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.html

ER headshot Erin Rogers, Creative Director at Jet Marketing

Erin enjoys a good, local coffee shop and family road trips.


Finding Your Inspiration

Driving on an empty road at bright sunny day

On a recent road trip as we were coming up over the crest of a hill, it struck me how flat the land was ahead of us. It seemed like you could see forever, and the shapes on the horizon formed a distinct pattern against the blue, cloudless sky. There was no one ahead of us, no one behind us. Everything seemed so still and vivid, even hurtling down the road at 70mph. I captured the moment in my mind’s eye noting the pattern of color, light and texture it revealed to me.

You never know where design inspiration is going to strike, and sometimes it doesn’t even make sense in the moment. But later you reflect on that vision, and something sparks an idea. Maybe it’s not a direct correlation, but it’s the experience, the memory, and all of a sudden you can’t get your ideas out fast enough.

Designers often spend countless hours curled up behind their computer screens, cranking out ad after ad, poster after poster. When you have an established brand, with experience, it just becomes second nature to roll out different pieces of collateral for that client. But it’s different when all of a sudden you have to come up with a brand new look or idea. Where do you go for inspiration? Sometimes it’s other designs, or magazines, or even looking around online. But some of the best ideas come when you least expect it—the trick is being open to that moment, or inviting a recent memory to return when needed.

Here’s what helps: Getting away from the computer. Doing something totally different. Breaking out of your routine. That’s how you recharge and refresh. Whether it’s going to the bookstore, an art museum, taking a quick road trip, or just simply going for a walk outside, do something that shifts your perspective. In design it’s like everything else in life, you have to slow down and breathe it all in. . . or you may just miss it.

So when you’re hurtling down the road at 70mph, make sure to take in the moment, and hopefully flashing blue and red lights in the rearview mirror won’t interrupt your inspiration.

ER headshot  Erin Rogers, Creative Director at Jet Marketing

During her free time, Erin enjoys hiking and biking the local nature trails.