Expanding the Frame: San Diego Tourism Authority, American Airlines and Travelex’s Consumer Content Campaign Campaign

When Travelex approached Gate 7 with a proposed content campaign to promote their Travel Money Card, their immediate need was securing an appropriate destination partner.

But, the team saw more opportunity than just a brand partnership and pitched a comprehensive campaign optimisation that would include the addition of airline partner, American Airlines, the power of two well-known influencers, and a dash of our time-tested “create one, publish often” mentality to drive every bit of value possible from Travelex’s initial scope. The resulting campaign smashed all expectations with an ROI of 517:1 (USD), more than 20,000 unique competition entries, and more than 2.5 million social impressions.


Background and Challenge

International foreign exchange company Travelex approached Gate 7 at the beginning of 2019 looking to partner with a destination on a consumer competition and media buy to promote their Travel Money Card. Immediately, San Diego Tourism Authority stood out as the perfect partner as their promotions team were looking to make a splash in-market with a mass paid and earned media campaign, and the city’s very unique visual style made it perfect for drawing eyes in the crowded travel industry marketplace.

Our team wanted to optimise the scope of the project and extend available budget by adding a greater emphasis on social-first imagery and video to create cost-effective, flexible campaign content while maximising consumer engagement. Bringing well-known content creators on board instead of a full-scale production team would provide the kind of authentic voice needed to push the campaign forward, while minimising costs and maximising ROI.

Looking to push the boundaries on the project to maximise the benefits would require working with a further trade partner and finding a way to prove the value of influencer-led content campaigns, both of which would present a variety of challenges as the Gate 7 team balanced each stakeholder’s objectives.

Strategy and Solution

Our team already knew that American Airlines had been seeking out opportunities to promote their trans-Pacific business-class product, and by bringing the airline into the campaign, they would be securing logistical assistance, valuable channels to further reach, and a major prize for the consumer competition. Strategically, it was a great opportunity to further share costs and increase distribution across a third major brand, but more importantly, adding the value of additional premium prizes would be beneficial for each brand in attracting consumers.

In order to effectively optimise an already well-planned campaign brief, the team took a deep dive into each individual piece of content to ensure every component fully reflected the objectives and messaging of each brand stakeholder. Travelex, who were very well versed in effective and targeted mass-media buying, had yet to work closely on a socially-driven, influencer-led content campaign. Gate 7 knew the power of authentic local voices for helping to drive desirability behind product and destinations, and were best positioned to blend the strengths of known content creators with Travelex’s media buying experience.

Content creators Matt and Phoebe, of Little Grey Box, who Gate 7 had previously collaborated with, were flown to San Diego to produce a raft of scalable and flexible visual video and social content that demonstrated the breadth and depth of partner prizes that the lucky winners of the competition would experience. This content could be edited for use throughout the campaign period by each of the partners in every space; digital, in-store and out-of-home. Matt and Phoebe’s content was used in social media packages, and also turned into evergreen travel guides by Travelex and Little Grey Box, a review of the business class experience on American Airlines and the customer experience with Travelex, and a variety of other pieces to be used throughout the campaign.

For two weeks, this content was displayed across a huge network of physical and digital media locations in Travelex’s network, as well as shared organically across San Diego Tourism Authority’s, Travelex’s, American Airlines’ and Little Grey Box’s social media, eDM and blog channels. At POS, in-store and digital screens at over 180 locations across Australia and New Zealand to social and digital ad buys, the content distribution aimed to capture the viewership of a huge audience. Travellers in Australia’s largest airports were presented with branded messaging on almost every screen through the terminals, with Travelex’s targeted media buy complimented perfectly by jointly created competition content.

Over a concurrent six weeks, consumers were encouraged to enter into a competition to win a trip for four to San Diego. Any customer, from both Australia and New Zealand, who purchased more than AU$200 worth of foreign currency would be eligible to enter the competition, and this competition ran for a complete six-week campaign.

Results and Learnings

Thanks to cost-sharing across the three partnership brands, and very low spend, the resulting ROI of the program for Visit San Diego was in excess of 517:1 on every dollar spent, and final media value delivery was nearly $30,000 above the forecast levels. This huge ROI shows the importance of finding the perfect brand with which to partner on aligned goals, especially in times where marketing budgets have been thinned.

The program’s massive audience reach came from the 27 pieces of content shared across all four stakeholders’ owned channels and was instrumental in proving the value of a well-planned and executed content campaign. Over 20,462 consumers entered the competition across Australia and New Zealand, resulting in exceptional engagement from customers and easily achieving Travelex’s desired campaign objectives. Digital ads reached 2,642,326 impressions, and in-store promotions were seen by an estimated 864,000 customers across the entirety of the campaign.