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Arizona Office of Tourism unveils ‘unreal’ ad campaign for state

The newest advertising campaign from the Arizona Office of Tourism showcases experiences in the state that are at once authentic and unexpected, comfortable and grand, real and unreal. 

Iconic Arizona destinations such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley are front and center—but so, too, are lakes, snow and slot canyons.

The campaign, “[un]real Arizona,” was unveiled today by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, an annual professional-development event for destination marketers and travel professionals in the state. The ad campaign is the Office of Tourism’s first brand refresh in four years.

“The ‘[un]real Arizona’ campaign illustrates how the experiences visitors expect to have in our state can be grander and more surprising than they ever imagined,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

The campaign pairs awe-inspiring hero imagery with simple, powerful headlines that play on both the authentic feel of Arizona and its stunning natural landscape. Some of Arizona’s most majestic destinations—including the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, Monument Valley, Snowbowl, Antelope Canyon and Verde Valley—are featured in the campaign.

AOT collaborated with Off Madison Ave (OMA), a Phoenix-based integrated marketing agency, to create the “[un]real Arizona” campaign. It will launch nationally in the fall, targeting the key markets of Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and San Francisco. 

“Research has showed us that there is real potential to further increase travel to Arizona in these cities,” Johnson said. “We targeted Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco with our advertising this past year and increased market share by more than 20 percent in every one of those cities. This year we’re adding Minneapolis to the mix, and we’re confident we’ll see positive results there as well.”

According to an advertising-effectiveness study by Strategic Marketing & Research Insights, the increase in incremental travel to Arizona generated by the Office of Tourism’s most recent national ad campaign resulted in $829 million of spending in the state. Overall, 43 million people visited Arizona in 2016, contributing $21.2 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy.

The new “[un]real] Arizona” campaign celebrates the breathtaking natural wonders in Arizona while touching on the various types of experiences available throughout the state.

Off Madison Avenue Creative Director, Ben Galloway said the flexibility of the “[un]real” concept means that images and messaging can easily be adjusted depending on the market, target audience, seasonality and medium.

“The big idea behind this campaign is to show the world the Arizona that residents get to see every day, the Arizona that is accessible, yet feels like you’re the first person to set foot here,” Ben Galloway said. “But it’s not enough to just have a good creative idea. The collaborative effort between AOT and OMA truly produced something special with ‘[un]real Arizona.’”