Koyczan takes a walk on the wild side

Destination BC is partnering with artists like Penticton poet Shane Koyczan on a new evocative marketing campaign

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan spent time exploring Vancouver Island rainforests

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan spent time exploring Vancouver Island rainforests

For its latest marketing campaign, Destination BC is bringing in the big guns, professionals in evoking emotion and conveying images.

It’s not some high-powered New York ad agency they turned to, but B.C.’s artist community, starting with Penticton poet and spoken word artist, Shane Koyczan.

Koyczan was turned loose in the rainforests of Vancouver Island’s west coast, which inspired him to write a moving poem that captures the rugged power of B.C.’s spectacular natural environment. His poem, videos and photography from his trip are available on a new, interactive digital hub: wildwithin.ca.

While Koyczan’s work has long been familiar in Penticton and the South Okanagan, the spoken-word artist was catapulted to international attention when he electrified audiences around the world with a reading of his poem, We Are More, at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony in Vancouver.

Destination BC is partnering with leading BC artists to explore the province’s natural iconic experiences and share them with potential travellers through its spring and summer North American marketing initiatives.

Koyczan was the first artist invited by Destination BC to venture into the wild, but his work will be joined in coming months by two more artists.

“We believe a bold new brand platform is what is needed to dramatically set us apart from all the competitors that exist in the world today,” said Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination BC, during the annual general meeting of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association last December.

“We need to be putting out a brand promise that really ignites the imagination of people that causes them to give us a second look. Few people come here to stay in their hotel room.”

Walden said they could think of no better way to share inspiration with travellers than through work of renowned B.C. artists shaped by the environment.

“Through the digital hub, and with artist and user-generated content, we hope to spark conversations on social platforms as we work toward our goal of becoming the most recommended destination in North America.”

Destination BC’s 2015 spring and summer North American marketing initiatives will run in California, Washington, Alberta and B.C. Amplifying B.C.’s recently revitalized destination brand, the activities are designed to create an emotional connection to B.C. that motivates travel, raises awareness and encourages immediate visitation.

The digital hub is an inspirational microsite that promotes B.C. experiences through storytelling and user-generated content from residents, travellers and social influencers. Content on the digital hub can be shared across various channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ to urge people to plan their own B.C. adventure.