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2022 Poppy Awards

The Visit California Poppy Awards are a biennial contest that honors the best and brightest of California tourism promotion. The awards are bestowed in even-numbered years as part of Outlook Forum.

Winners are selected by a panel of industry marketing experts in eight categories ranging from best public relations campaign, to best content marketing campaign to best cooperative marketing campaign to name a few. Submissions will be reviewed by Visit California staff, then blind judged by industry committee leadership.

Submissions have closed as of Nov. 19. The winners will be announced at the Poppy Awards Gala on Feb. 15 in San Francisco! Make sure you register to attend Outlook Forum today. Check out descriptions for this year’s categories below.


CATEGORIES

Best Overall Destination Brand Identity
Submissions will be separated by organizational budget

An organization's brand is more than a logo or an ad or the design language for corporate identity – a brand represents the essence of a destination and is a reflection of a place’s unique character, lifestyle and assets. Destination branding goes beyond a single marketing campaign — how does your brand extend into the physical elements of a destination? Are arriving visitors immersed in an environment that reflects your brand? Has the broader community adopted your destination’s brand? If applicable, how have you adapted your brand to meet the challenges of the pandemic?

This category will honor destinations with the best integrated brand programming to support their region’s key iconic assets and businesses. Entries must include your destination’s unique brand promise and any reflection of the overall brand positioning along with examples of how the brand was implemented with consumers and business partners. Entries will be judged for the merit of the branding, the consistency of the brand and how the brand has established community identity and pride of place.

There is no eligibility period for this award category — entries must highlight your current brand identity, but your brand need not have been launched in 2020-2021.

Best Recovery Campaign
Submissions open to DMOs or businesses

The pandemic and other crises in the state like wildfires and oil spills have led to many industry-wide pivots. Best Recovery Campaign will showcase campaigns that were developed to drive visitation back to your destination after a crisis. For example, Visit California launched the “Calling all Californians” campaign to inspire local California residents to take a “state-cation” and travel safely to jump-start the state’s economy. Highlight your own campaign that drove support for local businesses and enhanced economic recovery for your destination.

Metrics for success can include:

  • Local business participation
  • Improvements in occupancy, ADR or RevPAR
  • Ticket sales or sales generated at local businesses
  • Digital or in-person traffic/attendance
  • Views or clicks
  • Opt-ins or followers

Best Content Marketing
Submissions open to DMOs or businesses

Creating and leveraging content is what sets great organizations apart. Content marketing and outreach through your website, e-newsletters, blog, podcast, social media or printed materials can break through the clutter in this always on, digital world. Showcase your best content marketing initiative – either as a part of a larger program, or as a stand-alone campaign. Share your approach, including the program’s goals, target audience, platforms used, distribution strategy and results.

We welcome content-driven initiatives that reflect or address pandemic realities. For example, Visit California’s “So You Think You Know” and “What You Need to Know” campaigns included a series of blog posts on in-state travel, hidden gems that appeal to locals, and advice on navigating travel restrictions. 

Metrics for success can include:

  • Distribution
  • Performance against targets
  • Content Engagement
  • Earned Media
  • Reach/impressions (print or online)
  • Partner handoffs
  • Bookings or sales generated from the campaign
  • Website views
  • Video/content views
  • Clicks/CTR
  • Partner handoffs
  • Ad recall/awareness
  • Opt-ins, followers

Best Paid Social Media Campaign
Submissions open to DMOs or businesses

Creative and effective use of paid advertising on social media channels – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. – can amplify a campaign or can exist as a stand-alone program. Show how you’ve employed social media to feature your California tourism destination and its unique offerings or your own business either as part of a larger campaign, or as its own social campaign.

We welcome campaigns that found creative ways to engage social audiences during the pandemic, including those that indirectly promoted visitation. For example, Visit California’s “View From Your Window” campaign provided an opportunity for California residents to view and share striking photos of their hometowns during the most restrictive period of lockdown. 

Metrics for success can include:

  • Analytics
  • Performance against targets
  • Number of engagements
  • Dashboard data
  • Level of engagement
  • Reach/impressions
  • Followers
  • Bookings or sales generated from the campaign

Best Cooperative Marketing
Collaboration can take a good campaign and make it extraordinary. Showcase a marketing effort in which two or more organizations partnered to promote travel to a region within California. Submission should clearly articulate program goals and results based on each organization’s objectives. Visit California co-ops are not eligible for submission in this category. If applicable, judges will be interested to hear how cooperative marketing helped your organization overcome budget restrictions and other challenges posed by the pandemic.

Metrics for success can include:

  • Audience engagement/participation
  • Website traffic
  • Earned media
  • Reach/impressions
  • Partner handoffs
  • Bookings or sales generated from the campaign
  • Visitation or foot traffic
  • Economic impact

Best Public Relations Campaign
Submissions open to DMOs or businesses

Effective PR puts storytelling front and center, supporting marketing initiatives with invaluable earned media. Share your most effective campaign featuring California tourism products. Campaigns can target niche markets or a general audience and may also include special events, consumer or media activations or issues management. Entries should incorporate research, planning, creativity and results. Results may include total impressions, pick-up and social media integration, if applicable.

Destinations and businesses that deployed effective PR and earned media strategies to overcome reduced marketing budgets are encouraged to apply in this category. 

Metrics for success can include:

  • Social media engagement
  • Reach
  • Number of impressions
  • Website traffic
  • Sales generated from the partnership
  • Pick up and social media integration
  • Partner or member participation

Best Influencer Campaign
Submissions open to DMOs or businesses

This category rewards the best use of influencer marketing — marketing that enlists individuals, groups or associations to help advocate for the brand or product to gain credibility and target consumers as a primary communication tactic. Programs/campaigns can include any type of influencers, from lesser-known local influencers to YouTube stars to national celebrities, and anything in-between. Campaigns can target niche markets or a general audience and may include any of the following components of traditional PR: media outreach, broadcast integrations, consumer activations, crisis communications or issues management.

Low- and no-cost influencer campaigns are welcomed. For example, at no cost, Visit California encouraged a large number of trusted influencers to tag travel photos with #RespectCalifornia to promote accessible destinations and responsible travel during the pandemic.

Metrics for success can include:

  • Social media engagement
  • Reach
  • Number of impressions
  • Website traffic
  • Pick up and social media integration
  • Sales generated from the partnership
  • Partner/member participation

Destination Stewardship & Sustainable Travel Award
Submissions open to DMOs or businesses

The impact of COVID-19 on tourism destinations has highlighted the need to strengthen the resilience of the tourism sector against ongoing and future shocks. Even during the pandemic, some parts of California continued to see environmental and management pressure points due to large influxes of visitors in peak travel seasons. Destinations and businesses across the state are using this opportunity to reset and create a more balanced recovery; one that continues to deliver economic benefits but also addresses negative environmental and socio-cultural impacts. Managing these dynamics must become top of mind for the tourism industry, as more and more visitors worldwide are demanding sustainable destinations when they travel.

Highlight how your DMO or business preserved the local culture and natural resources of your destination through a sustainability and responsible-travel campaign. In addition to marketing programs, entries can include beautification and cleanup efforts, workforce development, wildlife preservation or general community building for the betterment of tourism.

Metrics for success can include:

  • Business and community support/engagement
  • Product development
  • Coordination with broader stakeholders
  • Environmental indicators
  • Overall community benefit
  • Visitor and resident satisfaction
  • Website traffic
  • Earned media
  • Reach/impressions
  • Partner handoffs
  • Economic impact