Appealing to the senses to fall in love with Atlanta

The Opportunity

Atlanta is a large, cosmopolitan and vibrant city with its own unique charm. Locals and visitors who explore the city know it is a great destination to live and explore; however, there is a misperception that there aren’t enough interesting things to do in Atlanta. The Atlanta CVB wanted a campaign to raise awareness of Atlanta’s rich cultural offerings. 

The Insight

Through research, Sparkloft discovered a fundamental truth: audiences don’t just want to be told a story about a destination, they want to be a part of an insider’s experience and discover through the eye’s of a local. With these insights in mind, Sparkloft identified three core campaign themes: See, Hear, Taste. We leveraged a variety of video content types and immersive storytelling to serve as a link between local experiences and unfamiliar/out-of-market audiences’ perceptions of Atlanta.

The Strategy

The I AM ATL campaign tells the story of Atlanta from the perspective of local ambassadors and influencers. I AM ATL showcases that the people of Atlanta are what makes the city great. Their stories, experiences and passion for Atlanta can be shared to a wider audience to inspire them to discover Atlanta for themselves. Sparkloft set out to build a social-first approach to leverage existing I AM ATL digital content that engages unfamiliar audiences and connects them with local perspective.

The foundation of our storytelling approach was video. While video is one of the most powerful ways to create connections and communities through storytelling, Sparkloft recognized that one size doesn’t fit all. We produced video content with a variety of platforms and formats in mind first, from short-form video like Instagram Stories, carousels and Canvas to longer-form content like 360 video.

Our target audience was not defined primarily by age and demographics, but rather by lifestyle; a strong affinity for travel with interest in urban experiences including festivals, music/nightlife, dining, walking and exploring neighborhoods. The target audience wants to explore new destinations and get a sense of local culture. They may visit an attraction or museum, but primarily they are interested in activities that are off-the-beaten path. They are looking to blend in like a local wherever they go — and want to be treated as such. 

The Execution

Our primary campaign attribute was discovery. The I AM ATL campaign encouraged audiences to see, hear, and taste Atlanta through content that introduced them to passionate locals that speak for the city. Audiences discovered Atlanta through these senses and were immersed into the city’s culture one song, recipe or neighborhood at a time.
Sparkloft dissected long-form I AM ATL digital content, living on Youtube and the I AM ATL microsite, that identified with our overarching content themes (see, hear, taste), We elevated it on social media using immersive content types that were optimized for individual platforms, ultimately creating a cohesive story across multiple touchpoints. 
Additionally, Sparkloft identified 12 local advocates to leverage their authentic, local perspective on Atlanta and strengthen the message of I AM ATL through third-party validation. Each influencer shared content that fit one (or more) of our content themes (see, hear, taste). Sparkloft partnered with these influencers to develop content and messaging that they shared on their personal accounts and additional assets that were exclusively used for paid media from Discover Atlanta’s Instagram account.
With a focus on immersive storytelling, Sparkloft leveraged 360 video to support the campaign’s fundamental truth: Audiences don’t just want to be told a story; they want to see and be a part of an insider story. They want to discover through the eyes of a local. Sparkloft took a different approach to Facebook 360, applying traditional storytelling techniques to the video. Rather than letting the locations carry the story and hoping for excitement to arise from what was happening organically, we created intent and intrigue by leading viewers through a rich, vibrant environment and used every angle to tell the I AM ATL story. Leveraging a small group of influencers to be our “cast,” the viewer became part of the group, not being led by a third party. 
Sparkloft constructed a small paid media plan to support content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, we relied heavily on our influencers and audience engagement to tell the story to keep the authenticity of the campaign.

The Results

While raising awareness and engaging audiences in new markets, Sparkloft maintained an organic feel for the campaign through third-party validation (Atlanta influencers/ambassadors) and audience engagement.

The I AM ATL campaign is still live but has already generated impressive results. As of October 2017 the campaign has garnered 11,872,643 impressions and 2,094,897 engagements on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and a reach of 2,861,205 on Facebook and Instagram. Videos have reached 1,987,430 views on Facebook and Instagram.