Connecting tourists to what is truly Tennessee.

VML became the very first full-service agency of record for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in early 2014. In the summer of that year, we launched their new brand to drive more newcomers to the state through the consistent, fully integrated campaign “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”

As their lead for strategic, creative, and channel efforts, we’ve helped them increase domestic and international travel to the state, and have even picked up numerous nominations and awards for data innovation, digital advertising, long form film, and more. 

Case study

Snap your way in.

Challenge

A record number of travelers were visiting the state of Tennessee, but the percentage of millennials was actually decreasing. We knew millennials were obsessed with Snapchat, so we decided to launch our own channel. Problem is, Snapchat is the most difficult social platform to grow a following on.

Idea

Ask the biggest-selling artist in history (and Tennessee transplant) Garth Brooks, to put on a free concert, and make Tennessee's new Snapchat channel THE ONLY WAY IN.

Result

  • Zero to 31,000 followers in 24 hours
  • Tickets sold out in less than three minutes
  • 6.2 million Snap views over two weeks
  • Fans came from 43 states and five countries
  • Nearly one billion earned media impressions

Case study

Live streaming allows Chicago to tune in.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development wanted people in Chicago to see the Volunteer State as the premier destination for music. Tennessee is the birthplace of several genres of music, and many famous artists live in the state. So it's common for those artists to play in local bars and venues - even on street corners. 

Challenge

Give people in another state a taste of Tennessee music by holding three of the first-ever interactive live-streamed concerts.

Idea

Over the course of three days, four artists were beamed from multiple cities in Tennessee to a sidewalk in downtown Chicago via a two-sided digital billboard. The screen showed a live stream of both the front and back of the artists, giving the appearance they were actually standing on the sidewalk. Passers-by got an intimate concert and could interact with the artists. 

Result

Thousands of people saw the concerts live, but the event reached far beyond that with 1.24 billion earned media impressions.

Case study

The first commercial edited in real time to match your behaviors, likes and interests.

The state of Tennessee wanted to attract travelers, but research showed potential visitors were unsure of how Tennessee was relevant to them, and in turn, saw it as a "drive-through" state and not a vacation destination.

Challenge

Prove to travelers that Tennessee was the place to spend their precious time off.

Idea

Tennessee Vacation MatchMaker used pre-roll ads edited in real time to match all the viewer's online behaviors, likes and interests. The geo-targeting filter even ensured the attractions shown were within driving distance of the viewer's home.

Result

More than 40MM videos views and 2.5MM social impressions in just four weeks, 92% of the people surveyed said the ads inspired them to take a vacation to Tennessee within the next year.  

Case study

Capturing the spirit of Memphis in a song.

VML works with Tennessee Tourism as agency of record to connect the distinct parts of west, middle, and east TN under a single brand idea: Made In Tennessee. In this case, some of America’s most iconic music was made in Memphis, TN. But over time, the city had lost its luster.

Challenge

Show potential tourists that Memphis was still worth visiting, and still inspires music worth listening to.

Idea

We filmed an emerging indie band visiting iconic places around Memphis for inspiration, crafting a new song along the way, and recording it in town. To kick off the campaign, the band performed the song at 35,000 feet on a Dallas to Memphis Southwest flight.

Result

More than 700,000 views of the short film, 4K shares of related articles, and over 2.5 million earned media impressions — 99% positive. It all led to a 12% increase in Memphis search interest on Google and a 15% increase in traffic to TNvacation.com.

Awards & Recognition

Clio Awards

Case study

Effective engagement from an ignored medium.

As the very first full-service agency of record for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, we developed and launched a new brand for the state, setting our sights on showing vacationers all that Tennessee had to offer. 

Challenge

Convince American families who usually take cross-country road trips for summer vacation to stay closer to home, all without a national media budget.

Idea

We identified key markets close to Tennessee's best attractions. We then mapped out 24 actual road trips and made them into 60-second video banners to show moms in neighboring states that they didn’t have to go far for a memorable summer vacation.

Result

The campaign resulted in 1.3 million engagements, 17,000 hours of video exposure and 970,000 completed views. We saw a CTR three times the industry average, earned a 10.7% increase in travel volume, and a 27% increase in vacation guide downloads.

Awards & Recognition

Cannes Lions 2015
London International Awards (LIA)
The Webby Awards