The Opportunity

After a year of fires and flooding, the city of Santa Barbara looked to the Los Angeles and surrounding, immediate drive markets as a key audience for an in-market activation. To bring a new offering to the LA market, who is already familiar with Santa Barbara, the city teamed up with the three main DMOs in the surrounding Santa Barbara County — Goleta, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley — to launch a new product and promote the region as a whole.


The Insight

After competitive analysis, Sparkloft leveraged social media in order to create fresh interest in the region. While Santa Barbara County’s competitive set offers comparable products, the distinguishing factor among the Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and Goleta regions is the vibrancy of colors each visitor posts on social media. We seized on the unique opportunity to create a more colorful positioning for Santa Barbara County — one based on the diversity of color constantly seen in social posts linked to four regional USPs: wine, food, outdoors and local character.

The Strategy

Our approach positioned the four regions within Santa Barbara county as the ultimate road trip, highlighting the colors of central California. From rustic terra-cotta crimson clay of Santa Barbara rooftops, and bright lemon groves of Goleta, to the bold spice of Santa Maria Valley barbecue, and the lush, rolling vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley, a trip through Santa Barbara County is an experience for the senses, rich with color, delicious flavors, welcoming local artisans, and unparalleled wine.

Rather than promote the county with only a digital or social campaign, we wanted to create an immersive, in-market experience that enticed consumers to visit, learn, and engage in an irresistible way. The experience: an “Instagrammable” pop-up shop, where consumers were able to sample the destination in-person—before they booked.


In a busy suburb of Los Angeles, Sparkloft and Visit Santa Barbara created the first ever travel pop-up shop, where consumers could try a Santa Barbara County vacation before they bought it. Chroma: a Santa Barbara County Pop-Up Shop encouraged LA consumers to immerse themselves in bright, colorful art installations inspired by each region. Visitors often stayed in the shop for lengths at a time, sampling partner goods, capturing and posting photos, and learning more about each destination via signage, installations and collateral piece

The store was supported with a media and trade opening night, influencer outreach and digital and social ads driving traffic to Santa Barbara’s dedicated landing page. Additionally, an in-store booking station offered custom Chroma-inspired travel packages for consumers to book on-site or at home. Finally, Chroma ran a contest to drive consumers to share photos of the experience and tag #ChromaSB to win a five-day road trip through Santa Barbara County.

The Impact

The activation reached over 2.4M digital impressions and drove over 10,000 visitors to the Santa Barbara website —a 2-3x social referral increase when compared to similar time frames. Consumers in the store entered the contest through the #ChromaSB hashtag nearly 500 times, and social posts garnered more than 31,000 social engagements.

With over 4,000 visitors to the activation in just three days, Chroma generated unprecedented consumer engagement metrics. While the average digital and social engagement is measured generally in seconds, Chroma shoppers engaged within the store an average of 10-12 minutes, with an estimated total of over 800 hours spent in-store with the Santa Barbara County brand.