Destination Canada inspires millions with YouTube Campaign

How Canada’s national tourism marketers changed traveller’s mindset from “Canada someday” to “Canada today”


  • Inspire German travellers to make their next holiday adventure a Canadian one
  • Tell an engaging story about Canada as a destination


  • Launched an emotive YouTube campaign with YouTube creators sharing their Canadian holiday adventures
  • Integrated YouTube traffic data into Display & Video 360 so Destination Canada could remarket to viewers using TrueView


  • YouTube creator videos achieved over 17 million views
  • Canada experienced an 11% increase in German visitors in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015
  • Destination Canada used the campaign’s approach to target other markets
  • The campaign won two M&M Global Awards for Smart Use of Data and Best International Growth Strategy

Destination Canada asked its agency OMD International to change the mindset of German travellers from “Canada someday” to “Canada today.” An emotive YouTube campaign achieved over 17 million views and Canada saw an 11% increase in German holiday makers in the first half of 2016. The campaign was based on four YouTube creators’ Canadian adventures, using Display & Video 360 to ensure cross-device reach.

Getting to the top of the wish list

Canada’s national tourism marketers, Destination Canada, had long targeted adventure-loving German travellers. When research revealed a slowdown in bookings to Canada, despite it being high on many Germans’ holiday wish lists, they decided to inspire their audience.

YouTube captured the spirit of adventure

“It’s an expensive media market, and we were having trouble breaking through,” explains Gloria Loree, Destination Canada’s Executive Director of Global Marketing. "Canada has a great story to tell, and we knew we needed a new way to tell it."

In 2015, Destination Canada decided to launch a new kind of campaign based on the experiences of four well-known German YouTube creators and invited them to visit Canada, experience its immense beauty and culture, and share videos of their adventures on YouTube.

These videos were then hosted on YouTube with their creators sharing them, giving German viewers a rich visual experience to help them imagine their own Canadian adventures.

Viewings were good, but bookings were even better

Destination Canada used Google Display & Video 360 to help target interested travellers as they planned their next adventure.

OMD used traffic data to compile lists of people who’d viewed the creators' YouTube channels. They further integrated this data into the Display & Video 360 suite. This allowed Destination Canada to effectively remarket to the viewers using TrueView.

If a viewer had seen a YouTube creator’s video of British Columbia, Destination Canada would send that viewer a relevant British Columbia travel package via online display ads.

"Using data from Google products like Display & Video 360 allowed us to reach consumers with the right message at the right place at the right time," explains Brooke Steinberg, OMD International’s Digital Account Director. "We wanted to make sure we were sharing this amazing content and then sequencing it in the right way. Google helped us do that seamlessly."

With over 17 million views on YouTube creator videos, the campaign has exceeded all expectations, and still generates thousands of views each month even after the paid ads ended.

"Using data from Google products like Display & Video 360 allowed us to reach consumers with the right message at the right place and the right time." Brooke Steinberg, Digital Account Director, OMD International