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I love this ad campaign.
In March 2018, Travel Oregon released an advertisement inspired by japanese animation, particularly the 2D works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The ad, created in collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy, Psyop, and Sun Creature, is entitled Only Slightly Exaggerated, as is the overall campaign to promote the state’s attractions ahead of the summer 2018 season. The 90-second animation is a departure from traditional travel advertisements that feature high-detailed, realistic videography.
The ad is so different that many people assume at first that it is promoting an upcoming Miyazaki film. When viewers are surprised at the end with the words “Travel Oregon,” many want to share the video with their friends and family, if only because of its novelty. For fans of the Studio Ghibli style films, the effect is doubled. Even for those unfamiliar with the studio’s work, the atmosphere is gently intoxicating. In this age of 3D animation, a hand drawn work of has an other-worldly touch that hearkens back to when cartoons didn’t try so hard to look cutting-edge.
In 2014-2015, Travel Oregon ran another campaign featuring the state’s beautiful landmarks, calling it The Seven Wonders of Oregon. This time around, they are largely focusing on the same attractions, but playfully graduating them from photographic world-wonders to fantastic out-of-this-world wonders. The ad says to an entire generation of adults that grew up with hand-drawn cartoons, “You know that dream-world you’ve been in love with? Oregon is like that. Come to Oregon.”
Unlike a traditional business, Travel Oregon must rely largely on its beneficiaries to promote its message. Their main job is to simply have a message and make big, simple, and charming. Media outlets are encouraged not to over-fantasize the content, but rather use the exaggerated scenes in the animation as launching pads for discussion of their real-life counterparts. Of course, this is just in an official capacity. No one can stop people on social media from playfully claiming that Oregon is actually a Miyazaki fantasy-world, and why would they want to?
Travel Oregon deals in the realm of potential products and services— the agency is not directly providing them. In a business that markets something more tangible, researchers augment their products to better serve the consumer. Travel Oregon’s role is slightly different: much of what makes Oregon an attractive destination need not be improved upon. The task is to simply get people there so they can realize this for themselves.