Poppy Awards and Industry Recognition Gala
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Congratulations to the 2018 Poppy Award winners

By Gohar Manukyan 02/27/2018

Visit California is excited to celebrate this year’s Poppy Awards winners!

Every two years as part of Outlook Forum, Visit California honors the tourism industry teams responsible for the year's top marketing efforts with the Poppy Awards and Industry Recognition Gala. This year, Visit California hosted the awards ceremony at the City National Grove of Anaheim Feb. 15, drawing more than 400 travel and tourism industry leaders from across the state to recognize and laud their peers and accomplishments.

The California Dream Eater Chase Ramsey served up a sizzling intro – replete with a live rendition of his Anaheim Packing House episode song to the backing of a live local band – before delivering big laughs as the night's host. After warming up the crowd and – in true Dream Eater form – queuing up the evening's fare, Ramsey welcomed Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta, Board Chair Sima Patel and the Board of Directors Officers to present the night's awards.

The emblematic Poppy Awards themselves are handmade by local California artisan Nicholson Blown Glass in Auburn. Winners are selected by a panel of industry marketing experts in the months leading up to the event.

The 2018 selection process featured a record number of submissions. Amid the historically strong field, these winners shined the brightest.

Best Overall Marketing Program - $2 million and up

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

L.A. Tourism’s “Everyone is Welcome” campaign aimed to reinforce two cornerstones of Los Angeles culture: diversity and inclusivity. The campaign produced an impressive global reach, as well as high industry and partner involvement.

Best Overall Marketing Program - $500,000 to $2 million

Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Greater Palm Springs CVB's campaign creative focused on three major pillars for the destination: outdoor adventure, health and wellness, and arts and culture. The brand tagline, "Find Your Oasis," created an emotional connection to prospective visitors and positioned Palm Springs as a top resort destination. The results of the campaign showed not only an impact on awareness, but also occupancy and influence.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo's centennial program used multiple marketing platforms that brought the milestone celebration to life while telling the San Diego Story. Record-setting revenue and over-accomplished fundraising goals demonstrate the amazing success of this campaign.

Best Overall Marketing Program – less than $500,000

San Francisco Travel Association

The "Summer of Love" campaign targeted all markets, including consumer, business, trade and media with representatives participating from around the world. The campaign supported the California brand during the movement's 50th anniversary and brought the “flower child” spirit to a global audience.

Best Digital Campaign


Visit SLO CAL’s campaign represented all that is unique about the San Luis Obispo area while capturing the essence of the California brand: beautiful outdoors, adventure and relaxation. The region comprises 20-plus towns, over 3,600 square miles, and nearly 300,000 residents.

Best Social Media Campaign

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley created the unique hashtag and brand – #januBURIED – that generated buzz and excitement around California’s largest snow event in history. This campaign instantly became the focus of local, regional and national attention surrounding California’s record-setting winter.

Best Content Marketing Initiative

North Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus

North Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus' six-episode series showcased local lives and passions through a creative storytelling, giving a true sense sense of the North Lake Tahoe lifestyle. Destination marketing campaigns that incorporate video elements allow travelers to connect with locals and discover the location in an authentic way.

Best Cooperative Marketing

Visit Anaheim

By joining forces with like-minded partners, Visit Anaheim and Tourism Vancouver formed a cooperative campaign while inspiring more visitors to discover why Anaheim and Vancouver are a match made in heaven.   

Best Public Relations Campaign

San Diego Tourism Authority

San Diego’s “Two Nation Destination” PR campaign showcased San Diego and Baja California as destinations that can be experienced and enjoyed together. The organization's PR messaging reinforced the message of Visit California’s “All Dreams Welcome” campaign and encouraged travelers to include Mexican neighbors in California travel itineraries.

California Dreamer Award

Each year as part of the Poppies, Visit California awards one visionary individual for a lifetime of Dreaming Big. To this end, the 2018 California Dreamer recipient was filmmaker and cinematographer Louis Schwartzberg.

Schwartzberg is a longtime pioneer of the visual arts who has worked on some of Hollywood's biggest films (E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Jerry Maguire, American Beauty). He is perhaps better known as a leader in time-lapse photography, and through his work he has told the story of natural wonders around the world — including California.

"Nature inspires wonder and awe," he said during his acceptance speech. "And California is nature's wonder at its best."

Check out memories from the evening in the photo gallery.

2018 Poppy Awards

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