Culture in Vancouver Campaign

Positioning a Cultural Destination

Vancouver often evokes mental images of mountains, forest, and ocean. It is also Western Canada’s most significant cultural hub, providing the closest escape from the everyday routine for BC residents. Unfortunately, some visitors are less aware of the diversity of activities available. Tourism Vancouver asked smashLAB to help encourage more cultural visits, and build up their mailing list, through increased awareness and engagement. more

Determining the Right Direction

Following some brainstorming and exploration, our plan was to get suburbanites (in regional markets) off the couch and entice them to try something new. To do this, we employed a digital campaign that drove visitors to a microsite and mobile site containing a sweepstakes and events calendar. 

smashLAB took care of all sweepstakes prizing and logistics for five unique culturally-themed experiences, and promoted these through a combination of social media, paid advertising, and blogger outreach. To appeal to a more diverse audience, we also used simple and inclusive messages, and purposefully showcased all types of culture.

Showcasing the Real Experiences to Be Had

Over a nine week period, nearly 100 million ad impressions introduced, and reinforced, the variety of cultural experiences on offer in the city. The microsite received more than 40,000 unique visitors, 98,000 pageviews, and 11,000 sweepstakes entries (62% of whom also opted-in for Tourism Vancouver’s mailing list). Lastly, five lucky winners enjoyed one-of-a-kind experiences that ranged from backstage tours to hands-on culinary adventures with some of Vancouver’s most prominent cultural organizations. Each one of these was documented with a video to offer ongoing exposure.


Video played heavily in this campaign, as it afforded us a chance to not only talk about Culture in Vancouver, but also show real experiences relating to it. In this video, we introduce the campaign and sweepstakes, and invite culture lovers to enter and experience the best of Vancouver for themselves.

An information kit helped us reach out to media and prominent bloggers, and tell the story. Alongside the text-based campaign details, images from talented local photographers helped showcase the real cultural experience in Vancouver—and lent some real magic to the effort.

A number of animated ads worked to put the viewer front and center in the Vancouver experience. Each of these began with three powerful verbs and associated images, and ended with an emphatic statement about culture in Vancouver, and an offer to “Enter to Win!”

A microsite ran for the duration of the campaign, featuring an up-to-date events calendar that allowed culture seekers to find upcoming shows and activities. Also prominently featured was the sweepstakes sign-up form, which encouraged interested parties to enter to win one of five remarkable packages.

Culture in Vancouver sweepstakes page
Culture in Vancouver videos page

The microsite made note of each prize package, highlighting the current one up for grabs. As we made our way through the campaign, we documented the winners’ experiences on the website, encouraging others to sign up for a chance to win.

Culture in Vancouver mobile site
Culture in Vancouver mobile site
Culture in Vancouver mobile site

To reach out to active people on the move, a mobile-friendly version of the microsite allowed for easy access to events listings. Users could scan daily events, and then click to access more detailed information about these performances, activities, and events.

Every winner of the sweepstakes was presented with a small packet summarizing their winnings, and the experience they were about the have. They then went on to stay in the city’s finest hotels, dine at remarkable restaurants, and get backstage access to one-of-a-kind experiences.

The event winners were all notably moved by the experiences they were able to partake in. The proof came in the form of videos that allowed them to share their days with those who hadn’t been quite as lucky. In these short pieces, viewers are able to take a little trip with the winners, and witness some remarkable Vancouver highlights. 

Nicole and Hannes, winners of the Stage Experience, went behind the scenes at the historical Orpheum Theatre, indulged their appetites at Diva at the Met, and were front row at a sold out concert—all topped off with two nights at the lovely St. Regis Hotel.

The grand finale included three nights at the Sandman Hotel downtown. Winners Giuliana and Jon visited the vault of the Vancouver Art Gallery, a performance of Waiting for Godot, a special encounter at the Vancouver Aquarium, and an action-packed Canucks game... plus dining at The Teahouse in Stanley Park, Seasons in Queen Elizabeth Park, and Lift Bar Grill View.


  • Campaign strategy and planning
  • Microsite architecture, design, development
  • Copywriting, digital ads, media kit, and social media strategy
  • Sweepstakes coordination, logistics, and execution
  • Regular monitoring, iteration, and Analytics reporting

Key Benefits

  • Introduces and reinforces the core message
  • Highlights the wide variety of culture in Vancouver
  • Calendar tool offered a reason to return to the site
  • Acquired nearly 7,000 new opt-in subscribers
  • Six videos continue to promote the message


  • Microsite with contest integration (includes mobile version)
  • Emails (notifications/confirmations)
  • Media/blogger outreach and content (e.g. press releases)
  • Digital ads (display, Facebook, text)
  • Video tidbits covering winner experiences


"Throughout this project, the smashLAB team went above and beyond what was expected. We are extremely pleased with the overall effectiveness of the campaign."