Whatever you want in a vacation, there’s a Missouri for how you operate. The catch: MO isn’t the only state touting variety. Enter Mo — a genial, welcoming guide who can pair any visitor with their perfect travel M-O.

SITUATION

In 2019, the Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) was at a crossroads. The state’s long-running campaign wasn’t attracting enough new visitors and longstanding negative to mediocre perceptions of the state weren’t improving.

With surrounding states promoting a similar “something for everyone” message, Missouri needed to reach new audiences and overcome negative perceptions — in a way no state has.

INSIGHT

To increase visitors to the state and make a bigger economic impact, Missouri needed to expand its reach to new audiences and get them to consider MO as a viable destination.

Testing showed travelers saw Missouri as an easygoing and affordable destination with a variety of things to see and do.

SOLUTION

Meet Mo. A genial, welcoming guide who personifies the state of Missouri and can pair any visitor with their perfect M-O.

The “That’s My M-O” campaign would introduce a different version of the Mo character for every travel “M-O” (modus operandi), guiding prospective visitors to information about destinations and attractions based on their unique travel interests. Want to go hiking? Meet Outdoor Mo. Fine-dining connoisseur? Grab a table with Foodie Mo. Looking to broaden horizons? Let us introduce Culture Mo.

The question became “Could Mo help bring visitors back AND attract new visitors?” We believed she could, and we were right. Incremental trips and visitor spending for 2021 exceeded 2019 and as far back as 2016, as did metrics for campaign recall and key attribute association.

MEDIA STRATEGY

Mo is a character that embodies the ease, variety and accessibility of Missouri. There’s literally a Mo for every M-O (modus operandi). Across touchpoints, Mo asks prospective visitors, “What’s your M-O?”

We developed a fully integrated campaign across robust paid, shared, earned and owned communications, all with the desired creative commitment ingredients: attention-getting creative, a healthy budget and an appetite to remain in the market past the 12-month mark.

The campaign had interactive elements to engage audiences, all built around an anthem spot introducing Mo and a VisitMo.com website experience where users could take a “Find Your M-O” quiz that provided them with attractions in the state that aligned with their interests.

As industry research showed, our audience spends the most time with video content compared to other vehicles. We leveraged video to give a face and voice to Mo, using a combination of broadcast, OLV and OTT, as well as various content partners such as Spotify, BuzzFeed, Expedia and Tripadvisor, ultimately reaching 93% of target audience households across 27 target DMAs.

To extend Mo’s presence and the effectiveness of the campaign, we looked to audio. We ran streaming and podcast placements, in addition to high-impact Spotify placements, including a playlist generator based on a “That’s My M-O” quiz.

Mo showed up across digital paid media with static and animated display units, high-impact display experience units, social media, streaming audio and native ad placements in coordination with organic social media. Mo even showed up on OOH billboards with geo-retargeting to drive website traffic.

Strategic paid amplification was optimized for awareness and engagements, driving to the “Find Your M-O” quiz and Visit Missouri website. All paid media placements were targeted to select audiences in Missouri and surrounding drive markets.

Content partnerships and influencer programs provided third-party credibility and increased the frequency and reach of the campaign.

High-impact content partnerships included Hulu Ad Selector, Tripadvisor articles and pop-out experience, BuzzFeed listicles and quizzes, Rolling Stone articles, and interactive carousel.

Our supporting data showed the majority of individuals who follow travel influencers look to them for inspiration. We built relationships with more than 150 micro/macro content creators to reach the audience in a one-to-one fashion.

We engaged diverse influencers either from or with strong ties to Missouri, ranging in age from 25-54, having them share their “M-O” and bring the Mo personality to life with fun, relatable content. Instagram and Facebook influencers created original content from around the state, such as in-feed images and Instagram Stories, including a call to action for audiences to take the quiz. After sharing their Missouri feature on Stories, Instagram influencers shared the corresponding That’s My M-O brand video in one of their frames.

The Numbers

1.9B

Total Impressions

138M

Social Engagements

4.8M

Website Visits

1.1M

Incremental Trips

$1.2B

Incremental Visitor Spending

75%

Recall Among “Travel-Ready” Consumers