In 2018, Air Canada began planning a campaign to inspire travel from Denver to Canada, Asia, and Australia with connection through their Vancouver hub. The problem? Unaided awareness was painfully low: only 2% of Denver thought of Air Canada when booking flights to far flung destinations. To draw attention to these flights and capture the hearts and stomachs of our Denver audience, we worked with the Denver International Airport Authority to create a quintessentially Canadian brand experience: a popup restaurant that only served Canada’s favorite comfort food, poutine.
The Poutinerie, inspired by a bespoke concept airport lounge, was built from scratch in downtown Denver. And the people of Denver showed up hungry: more than 4,854 dishes were sold in just seven days the pop-up was open — with all proceeds going to a beloved Denver charity. In addition to the pop-up experience, our #FlyTheCanadianWay integrated campaign included 52 pieces of OOH, banner advertisements, social content, an online sweepstakes, pre-roll and radio creative.
From the luxuriously stained 20-foot bar to the windows offering a virtual glimpse into destinations in Asia and Australia, every wall and every surface reflected the brand’s unique combination of premium service and Canadian warmth. Over the course of just one week of construction, the ISL team transformed a vacant, run-down bar in downtown Denver into a luxurious lounge that was camera ready and Instagram gold.
Denver truly loved The Poutinerie — and Denver’s social feeds showed it. Between Instagram and Twitter, posts by Denver locals netted 1.2 million impressions. Denver media was also hungry for the story. The Poutinerie flooded the airwaves as coverage and on-locations segments appeared on local CBS, NBC, and FOX affiliates.
Outside the walls of The Poutinerie, our integrated campaign celebrated 11 of the airline’s routes to destinations in Asia, Australia and Canada by asking Denver to #FlyTheCanadian Way. With over 50 pieces of campaign creative, we used a playful rhyming scheme to highlight the connection between local Denver sites and must-see destinations abroad. “From LODO Strolls to The Temples of Seoul,” for instance, helped to illustrate the Canadian route between Denver and South Korea.
The integrated campaign — which included The Poutinerie, 52 pieces of out-of-home, banner advertisements, social content, an online sweepstakes, pre-roll and radio creative — ran for just six weeks. But the impact in Denver was huge: unaided awareness soared 350%. Previous fliers reported that they were 4 times more likely to consider Air Canada for flights to Asia and Australia following the campaign. The OOH out performed benchmarks by more than 20%. And literally 100% of business travelers reported enjoying their experience at The Poutinerie. And if you ask us, it’s hard to beat 100%.