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Announcing the 2020 Poppy Awards Finalists
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Announcing the 2020 Poppy Awards Finalists

By Gohar Manukyan 01/31/2020

Announcing the 2020 Poppy Awards Finalists 


Thank you to everyone who submitted for this year's Poppy Awards. There was steep competition in each category, which made selecting finalists extremely challenging. Congratulations on some truly impressive campaigns! See you at the awards ceremony at Outlook Forum.

View judging criteria.

Best Overall Brand Identity (Less than $1 Million)

Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
Entry: A Small Town with a BIG Backyard

Bishop's resident-generated entry captures the close relationship between tight-knit local businesses and the 6 million surrounding acres of wilderness and outdoor recreation. The brand succeeds at its twin goals of inspiring local pride while positioning the town as a destination for visitors, rather than a stopover. Bishop’s year-round visitors come to play, but, thanks to the conscientious campaign, do so with respect for the local community and the environment.  

From the judges: community-selected brand embraced by locals and used city-wide for economic development and community pride; it works for the entire community; the town has seen significant increase in occupancy 

Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea
Entry: Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea

This brand campaign integrates TV, digital and print with a consistently elegant and charming identity. Lifestyle videography and photography is evocative and creates a distinctive brand image that has succeeded at inspiring visitors to get away to a charming destination that seems straight out of a painting.   

From the judges: brand identity is focused on inspiration and charm; shows impressive cooperation between regional associations; good use of evocative imagery across channels to convey the charm of a Carmel getaway 

Visit Santa Maria Valley
Entry: #SantaMariaStyle

The #SataMariaStyle brand succeeds at expanding a phrase long-associated with a style of cooking to encompass a destination that is simple, soulful and has a little spice. The brand lets visitors know they’re in for a change of pace, with easy, affordable access to California’s central coast attractions — where above all else visitors are treated like family.

From the judges: solid brand promise, detailed tactics; unique programming that supports their brand; demonstrated strong evolution of the brand over the years


Best Overall Brand Identity ($1 Million to $8 Million)

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Entry: Make It Happen

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows sought to change its perception to a “must-do" that competes with the big Rocky Mountain resorts for the top spot on every skiers list. Squaw Alpine accomplished this with a brand that pairs top-tier accommodations and slopes with a fun and laid-back California flavor. The brand was effectively activated through digital, print and on-site events that showed consideration for even the smallest detail, such as staff uniforms designed to effuse a California vibe.

From the judges: remained true to brand while personalizing message for diverse demographics and across seasons; messaging and visual feel executed consistently throughout; campaign brought to life through digital media and live events

Entry: Too Beautiful to Rush

SLO CAL had the daunting challenge of creating a new brand that spoke to all facets of a large and diverse county. Through a combination of earned, owned, paid and co-op marketing, SLO CAL told a story that captured the diversity of its communities while communicating a potent singular message to visitors: Life is best when we slow down to spend quality time together doing the things we love.

From the judges: broke down walls to embrace modernity and rediscover destination's appeal; unified more than 20 communities over 3,6000 square miles with first countrywide destination brand; core message of "life's too beautiful to rush" resonates in modern times and aligns with California's statewide appeal

Visit Laguna Beach
Entry: California Original Since 1927

Extensive market research pointed Laguna Beach in a counterintuitive direction with its “modern” brand refresh: look to the past. The cohesive brand deploys naturalistic colors alongside nostalgic type and imagery to celebrate the city’s long history. The new brand has brought Laguna’s old-school attractions and seven miles of classic California coastline to fresh eyes.

From the judges: a simple, clean vibe that allowed the brand to breathe and did more with less; comprehensive style guide and brand applied consistently to media and physical swag; a lot of emotion and heart in their advertising


Best Overall Brand Identity ($8 Million and Up)

San Francisco Travel Association
Entry: San Francisco brand refresh

San Francisco’s brand sought to foreground its instantly recognizable landmarks while paying homage to an ever-changing city with a pioneering spirit. This philosophy is perhaps best exemplified by the Travel Association’s new logo, designed around the unmistakable Golden Gate Bridge and featuring upward-slanting type that evokes a look to the future. A comprehensive brand guide has empowered marketers to playfully refresh a vast amount of collateral while remaining unmistakably San Francisco. 

From the judges: really captured the essence of the city through in-depth research; adds emotion and personality to familiar landmarks; well-thought objectives targeting the right audience that ultimately drove results

Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
Entry: Find Your Chill

Greater Palm Springs launched the campaign with an overall goal to increase awareness of the region as a top-choice travel destination, including during the hot summer season. Of note, Palm Springs has made a thoughtful appeal to the destination’s many diverse visitor demographics, for example through successful activations at LGBTQ events. The “Chill” brand has also garnered attention for Palm Springs as an oasis from dreary weather, as on a weather.com feature on escaping the May and June gloom.

From the judges: incredibly strong planning, well-defined objects and clearheaded self-evaluation; the "Find Your Oasis" tagline is right on target; memorable

San Diego Tourism Authority
Entry: Something to Smile About

San Diego Tourism Authority iterated on the already successful “Happiness Is Calling” by refocusing the brand on the smile. The brand succeeds in part on the strength of authentic imagery that shows residents effusing happiness and sparkling expressions. The city also broadened its image to include its eclectic urban neighborhoods, which have come into their own over the past decade. The national campaign convincingly establishes the city as the capital of good vibes and big smiles.

From the judges: displayed the fun, excitement, color and vibe with a fully integrated campaign; resonates with the family pillar; visuals capture the essence of why people should visit


Best Digital Campaign

North Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus
Entry: It’s Human Nature

North Lake Tahoe’s campaign captures breathtaking landscapes in a striking, bite-sized digital format. It shows that North Lake Tahoe is not a single, unchanging place, but a new adventure in every season.

From the judges: showed off seasonal diversity of the destination; effectively crossed over from leisure to business market; effective use of a variety of platforms and creative elements 

Visit Napa Valley
Entry: Signature Blend/Crush That Meeting

Visit Napa Valley delivered a cohesive digital campaign that called on businesses to #CrushThatMeeting. By showing the region as inspiring creativity and innovation through targeted channels like LinkedIn, the campaign inspired the business set to book their next meeting in Napa.

From the judges: loved the #CrushThatMeeting call to action; smart campaign with clean visuals; creative and told a good story while staying on brand

San Francisco Travel Association
Entry: Enjoy the Freedom to Create in San Francisco

Through engaging video and website content, San Francisco’s campaign captures the city’s culture current culture of experimentation and speaks to the city’s storied history of artistic risk-taking. It affirms that San Francisco remains as vibrant and inclusive as ever.

From the judges: showcases a familiar destination to a niche audience by focusing on the arts; great overall campaign with impressive ROI for the investment; appreciated the diverse range of non-traditional art types on display


Best Social Media Campaign

Los Angeles Zoo
Entry: K-Pop Mania Comes to the Los Angeles Zoo!

The Los Angeles Zoo capitalized on a video of a K-Pop superstar with baby pudu deer. The result had fans of the K-pop music group flooding the zoo’s social channels.

From the judges: created a level of buzz a normal animal birth would never accomplish; great example leveraging what seemed like a long-shot opportunity; tapped the entertainment market, their social community and earned media to accomplish a goal 

Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
Entry: Summer Chill 2019

Palm Springs fought the heat with a social campaign targeting younger generations interested in wellness, arts and culture. The campaign positioned Greater Palm Springs as a year-round destination, focusing on all-season activities ranging from spas to cocktail hours.

From the judges: highly creative energy with clear and strategic objectives; strong research with good consideration of audience needs; use of newer cinemagraphs technology sets campaign apart

Mono County Tourism
Entry: Viral content and Facebook group

Mono County Tourism staff drove millions to social media and their official website with a viral video strategy. Mono encouraged staff and visitors to share GoPro, drone and other footage. The “Mono County Insiders” Facebook group has garnered an impressively large following and saturated the web with authentic user-generated content.

From the judges: overall, sophisticated and far-reaching program for such a small destination; some good timing, but seized the opportunities presented to them; results you’d expect from a much larger destination


Best Influencer Campaign

Visit Napa Valley
Entry: Serena & Lily Wine & Design

Visit Napa Valley partnered with the well-known luxury home décor and lifestyle brand Serena & Lily to highlight Napa Valley to its established luxury-niche audience. Four social media influencers and their guest photographers traveled throughout Napa Valley to experience a “Serena & Lily Wine & Design” getaway, which was highlighted through the influencers’ social media accounts and blogs, as well as Serena & Lily and Visit Napa Valley’s owned media channels.

From the judges: resulted in incredible amount of coverage; have clearly developed lasting, effective relationships with their influencers; the team knows how to get influencers to over-deliver

San Francisco Travel Association
Entry: Golden Week

San Francisco appealed to Chinese travelers during Golden Week, the biggest national holiday, with an expansive influencer campaign targeting popular Chinese apps. The organization partnered with organizations to specifically target China’s new wave of travelers looking to adventure beyond the city.

From the judges: conveyed to the Chinese traveler how easy it is to fly into SF and stay there; clearly illustrates the team's understanding of the Chinese market; clear priorities in terms of the kind of coverage they needed to connect with the right audience

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Entry: Discover Sonam and Anand’s LA

Los Angeles partnered with Indian mega-influencer and actress Sonam Kapoor to gain mindshare with the emerging Indian market. LA-based musician Vidya Vox led the influencer and her husband on a tour of popular Hollywood and film industry destinations for a Bollywood audience.

From the judges: good idea to enlist trade partners to extend the conversation to cover actual real-world travel from India; clear analysis of results that showed high coverage by channel; tactical choice of influencers for the market backed by strong social media


Best Content Marketing Initiative

Explore Murrieta by the Abbi Agency
Entry: Explore Murrieta

Murrieta created a multi-channel creative campaign that put the Riverside County city on the map. The content shows off Murrieta as a hub for outdoor and culinary adventure, conveniently situated within Southern California wine country.

From the judges: strong from top to bottom with solid research and attractively packaged assets; smart use of content to create awareness and educate the audience; Instagram really captures the essence of destination

Boreal Mountain California
Entry: Pop-Up Parks

Boreal captured the attention of the highly competitive winter tourism market by appealing to younger generations’ “fear of missing out.” By inviting influencers to pop-up snowboard and ski parks, they made Boreal the resort of the moment and won over those who wait until the last minute to purchase lift tickets.

From the judges: impressive impact on engagement and the bottom line; a truly unique approach to filling the park before peak holiday times; the pop-up really leveraged FOMO in the right way

North Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus
Entry: Treasures of Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe developed “Treasures of Tahoe,” a 15-part video series with corresponding social media, blog posts and downloadable guides to unveil specific, sometimes underrepresented activities throughout the year.

From the judges: high-quality content with broad appeal that could be repurposed with only slight modifications; hit objectives and in a smart, fun way; loved the downloadable guides, and in particular the insider tips

San Francisco Travel Association
Entry: Why San Francisco Is So Delicious

The San Francisco Travel Association spread the word that the city is a culinary — and fine dining — mecca with its culinary mission video, chef video series and profiles, digital culinary guide and various culinary sales missions around the world.

From the judges: well-executed inclusion of content that showed off the culinary scene through the eyes of chefs; seamless, well-integrated campaign that resonates with authenticity that can't be manufactured; makes me want to eat my way through the city


Best Cooperative Marketing

San Diego Tourism Authority & San Francisco Travel Association
Entry: Best of California

By marketing trips to San Diego via San Francisco, San Diego gained awareness with the Chinese market and San Francisco increased its perception as the gateway to the West Coast.

From the judges: true collaborative marketing from competitors that has mutual benefit and benefit for the state; high level of difficulty and investment backed by results; impressive results in the Chinese market

Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Explore Inyo County, Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
Entry: Eastern Sierra Fall Colors

Destinations along scenic Highway 395, which runs through Inyo and Mono counties, partnered to capitalize on the area’s lengthy fall colors season. The concept was particularly clever, as elevation changes cause the different partners to experience peak colors throughout autumn, which allows the area to market a lengthy season without bringing destinations into competition with one another.

From the judges: impressive occupancy increases across the cooperation; low investment with a great concept that joined competitors in an effective campaign; appreciated the use of multiple marketing tactics that has potential for further applications

Visit Santa Barbara
Entry: CHROMA: A Santa Barbara County Pop-Up Shop

Neighboring DMOs collaborated to produce an “Instagrammable” pop-up shop to appear in a Los Angeles mall, where consumers had an opportunity to preview the beauty of Santa Barbara County in-person before booking a trip.

From the judges: very creative with good use of some lesser-known tools; each destination brought an individual selling point to the pop-up event, generating a ton of buzz; effective live activation backed by impressive digital reach


Best Public Relations Campaign - Destination

City of SLO Tourism Business Improvement District
Entry: Money for a Rainy Day

The San Luis Obispo Tourism Business Improvement District filled vacancies during their winter season with a $100 cash incentive, which their marketing encouraged guests to funnel back into local businesses.

From the judges: creative idea with concrete translation to bookings; drove traffic during a slow season, selling out rooms and garnering coverage from big newspapers; great way to market while infusing tourism dollars back into the local community

Humboldt County Visitors Bureau
Entry: Bigfoot

The Humboldt Convention & Visitors Bureau capitalized on a popular local myth with a guerilla campaign that earned creative placements, such as a Bigfoot face in the popular Faceswap app and a spot in the Travel Channel’s “Legendary Locations” show.

From the judges: encourages visitors to "dream big" chasing the mythical giant;  nominal investment with great pick-up by travel media organizations, including Travel Channel; placement in popular Face Swap app brilliant;

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Entry: City of Angels Experience

To educate Chinese visitors about the diverse geography in Los Angeles and encourage overnight visitation within the boundaries of the city, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board brought a pop-up to Shanghai that gave a virtual experience of the city.

From the judges: very creative, multi-pronged campaign that showed off a high level of skill; massive undertaking in an international market that resulted in a big win for destination; educated attendees on LA's many neighborhoods in a fun, creative way


Best Public Relations Campaign - Business

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Entry: Turner House

Alisal jumped into the spotlight by hiring designer Nathan Turner to create a luxury suite for the ranch. Alisal unveiled the suite with a weekend event for Turner’s influential friends and media that showcased his design and the ranch’s many attractions.

From the judges: tremendously inviting visuals; great campaign that drew attention to a California classic that's often overlooked because of its age; excellent placement in target audience publications

Balboa Bay Resort
Entry: Lilly Pulitzer partnership

Balboa Bay Resort partnered with iconic American resort brand Lilly Pulitzer to promote their waterfront location and new pool bar in key U.S. markets. Staff donned Lilly Pulitzer clothes, mixed Pulitzer-themed cocktails, and gave exclusive Pulitzer gifts to guests who booked a themed cabana.

From the judges: organic campaign with near-zero budget; fantastic social media response to what was a highly strategic partnership with Lilly Pulitzer; maximized traditional and online media relationships 

San Francisco International Airport
Entry: Year of the Pig

San Francisco International Airport capitalized on Year of the Pig by capturing the Chinese media spotlight with famed therapy pig LiLou. SFO gained exposure through their effective use of PR and social media to showcase LiLou with Chinese visitors and influencers.

From the judges: effective use of influencers, both human and pig; underdog PR story that succeeded in spite of limited budget and daunting FAA regulations; strong use of resources, domestic and international, and creative concept to tap into Chinese market

Terranea Resort
Entry: Tenth Anniversary

Terranea celebrated its 10th anniversary with appealing on-site guest offerings and effective media outreach. These included a bucket list that showed off must-do activities on the resort and participation in conservation events related to the Palos Verdes coastline.

From the judges: love the video assets; year-round events clearly express the destination’s many pillars; overall well-executed PR campaign that built on the anniversary buzz


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