Atlantic Canada Border Reopening Social Influencer Campaign

January 18, 2022

In the fall of 2021, Canada finally reopened its borders to US travelers after being closed for nearly 18 months due to Covid-19.  The region of Atlantic Canada – comprised of the four provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador – wanted to advise travelers as quickly as possible that visitors would once again be welcomed.

To complement our extensive media relations program about the border reopening, we also tapped into a vein of existing communications gold:  social influencers who had previously visited the region.  By repurposing previous content with new messaging, we saw a way to instantly generate awareness for the exciting news…while at the same time increasing the ROI from the original visits.

Timing was key to the success of this initiative.  We leveraged the runway for the official announcement to lock in the selected influencers and help prep their content to be ready to “go live” the moment the border opened.  Once we knew that the borders would be opening soon, we handpicked 10 influencers who met our engagement/audience criteria and had produced rich, compelling content for Atlantic Canada provinces in the past.

We negotiated all contracts and deliverables prior to border opening and provided a custom “swipe-up/link” sticker for use in Instagram stories.  A custom landing page for the border opening campaign gave all the influencers turnkey access to share more information through all their social channels and blog posts.

The results – as anticipated – were extensive and fast.  More than 100 pieces of content – social posts, stories, and more – were shared in a tight window of time surrounding the border opening date.  This content reached more than 3.5 million travel-hungry consumers.

Watch an overview of the whole campaign here and explore content from influencer @followmeawaytravel here.

Integrated social influencer & content campaign: The AFAR ambassador program for USTOA.

September 18, 2019

Five years.  Six continents.  21 countries.  10 states.  27 tour operators.  And countless cups of coffee (and perhaps a few adult beverages) to lend adrenaline support.

That’s what it took to orchestrate this complex, long-term partnership program for the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and AFAR Magazine that culminated in 2019.

Flashback to 2013, as we assessed USTOA’s strategic growth runway:  We saw a need to create a robust content strategy that could evolve over several years to support new consumer communication channels the association planned to unfold.  One key initiative we designed within the content strategy was the USTOA AFAR Ambassadors Program.

What is it?

The program was a multi-year (2014-2018) integrated content development initiative that sent prolific journalists/social influencers (dubbed “AFAR Ambassadors”) around the world with USTOA members.  Each of the 15 ambassadors had immersive tour experiences armed with a list of content-generation assignments:  multiple editorial articles for, blog posts for, social media posts/shares/takeovers, photos, and more.  In our role as USTOA’s comprehensive marketing and PR partner, we thoughtfully planned and orchestrated the association’s entire annual content calendars – blog, all social channels, consumer e-newsletters, travel trade byliners, and more – around these rich, unique anchors.

Why was this program such a success for USTOA?

AFAR Magazine was selected as the ideal partner for this program because the audience it reaches aligns perfectly with USTOA’s target audience.  The win-win partnership not only delivered breathtaking content for AFAR’s readers/viewers from destinations like Myanmar, Taiwan, Croatia, Kenya, Colombia, Manitoba, and Arizona, it also provided USTOA with consistent, frequent, and compelling exposure of its messages to AFAR’s coveted audiences over a period of five years.  Moreover, it…

  • Offered USTOA tour operator members a highly cost-effective way to collaborate with leading journalists and influencers, receiving widespread editorial/social media coverage for their specific offerings
  • Shared costs among all the partners involved, yet also shared content among all the partners involved… so the price per trip was low, while the benefit per trip was incredibly high
  • Provided extensive reach for USTOA messaging, as stories, photos, and videos from trips were shared across social and digital channels from AFAR, USTOA, each influencer/ambassador, tour operators, destinations, and a high percentage of USTOA’s members
  • Delivered significant content results for USTOA, including 44 blog posts for, as well as hundreds of social posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (story takeovers in 2017 and 2018 alone resulted in 6+ million impressions)
  • Aligned destination content strategically with several of our other high-profile initiatives for USTOA, such as the USTOA Travel Together video series with, which fed annual distribution to USA Today, MSN, Amazon Prime, and more

We LOVED orchestrating this entire program, from ideation to analytics, and we executed every single element of each trip, as well as directing all the content generation and placement.  See the highlights reel here.

(photo credit: Megan Murphy)

Communicating a Luxury Image Shift for Woodstock Inn & Resort through PR

August 12, 2019

No one ever expects a Tomato Whisperer.  But that’s one of the creative threads in the image tapestry we’re helping weave for this American legacy resort.

With a 200+ year old history and roots tied to the legendary Rockefeller family, the resort was embarking on a multiyear, $16.5 million renovation.  The goal was to foster appeal to a new and growing group of luxury leisure travelers (younger and affluent) while still cultivating loyalty from mature audiences that have embraced the resort for generations.

Naturally, the executives wanted a big PR splash to tell the world about their renovations.  But of course, the media pretty much yawn when you just try to dazzle them with budget sizes, renderings, and before/after photos.  Renovations are a dime a dozen in the travel world, so our job was to figure out a compelling way to make the media care.

Enter bees, slow tea, gourds, flowers, 57 kinds of tomatoes, and an experiential foodie paradise.

Nestled within the renovation plan was the debut of The Red Barns at Kelly Way Gardens, a state-of-the-art culinary center to house classes, events, and dining experiences.  The barns and gardens delivered absolutely stunning visuals, and the culinary center offered an unexpectedly dramatic experiential hub, smack in the middle of the Vermont countryside.  Our little PR antennae quivered the moment we learned about this, and we immediately chose it as the hook that would make these renovations stand apart.

Our PR campaign for the image shift begain in spring 2018 and leveraged The Red Barns at Kelly Way Gardens to draw the media spotlight on the entire resort, targeting a contemporary luxury audience.  To achieve this, we…

  • Media trained resort Executive Chef Rhys Lewis and Master Gardener Benjamin Pauly to align talking points with overall renovation story
  • Orchestrated a creative, newsworthy photo and video shoot to develop the core publicity assets needed to best tell the story
  • Worked with the resort to develop interesting and unique classes – such as Slow Tea in the Garden, which sourced herbs and honey from the resort’s own bees and gardens – to leverage for launch phase press releases, feature story development, and social influencer opportunities
  • Pitched and secured experiential visits for leading journalists, both individual itineraries and group press trips
  • Not gonna lie… we also tasted a sizable amount of the 200 different fresh vegetables from the gardens

The media responded with interest and excitement, and the results keep on coming.  Significant coverage has showcased the resort – barns, gardens, AND interior renovations – with feature stories in key targets such as The Boston Globe, Food & Wine, Departures, Town & Country, Montreal Gazette, Yankee Magazine, NECN, and more.  Social influencer coverage exceeded 10 million (and counting), and the resort was particularly excited about other cool wins, such as a full two days of stories on Country Living’s Instagram channel, and a full 10-minute editorial segment on the coveted PBS show “Weekends with Yankee.”

In the fall of 2019, we tested the waters on positioning Ben Pauly as The Tomato Whisperer.  Come ON… the man grows more than 60 varieties of tomatoes in extraordinary gardens that would make your jaw drop, and his elegant tomato tasting dinners are – dare we say it? – tasteful… in every sense of the word.  He’s got some magic juju with tomatoes for sure.

How did the media respond to our test?  Instantly and with great joy.  See debut segment here WCAX-TV and a five-segment on-location story here FOX-44.

Up next?  We’re adding sunflowers to Ben’s repertoire, with the debut of his 20,000 square foot Sunflower House featuring more than 100 varieties of sunflowers.  Summer 2021 saw extensive media coverage of Ben’s new masterpiece including these gems in Thrillist and Veranda.

Driving Revenue – Lots of It – for the Kennebunkport Resort Collection in the Off-Season

June 5, 2017

Who goes to Kennebunkport, Maine in the winter?  No one…that’s who.  Until now.

Flash back to 2015:  To help our client Kennebunkport Resort Collection (KRC) bridge the revenue gap that plagues such a summer-season destination, we were instrumental in the creation of the Paint the Town Red program.  Staking a claim as “New England’s Most Romantic Town,” Kennebunkport rolled out the red carpet of romance throughout the entire month of February…red twinkling lights all throughout town, Red Plate dining specials at all restaurants, Red Tag Sales at retailers, special surprises and décor at area businesses, and more.

Year one (2015) was no small feat, as we had to help KRC rally local support for the program.  This program would only work if area businesses would join together and participate to make the program bigger and stronger than just a KRC initiative.  Redpoint took the lead on coordination and marketing…and we even contributed our painting skills to the effort, transforming dozens of everyday objects (even hockey sticks) into red ambassadors for the program.

Year two (2016) was a smashing success.  KRC’s two year-round hotels were sold out for Paint the Town Red’s opening weekend, and media coverage was extensive:  Yankee Magazine, Country Living, The Boston Globe, The Montreal Times, CBS-TV, ShermansTravel, Portland Press Herald, FoxNews, and more.  The NBC-TV affiliate in Portland, ME did a full cooking segment with KRC’s leading chef Justin Walker, showcasing romantic meals to cook at home while plugging Paint the Town Red culinary events.  Most importantly… KRC’s February occupancy skyrocketed to the point where winter is now “a season.”

Year Three (2017) and Year Four (2018) brought continued media (and revenue) love to KRC, with prominent pieces in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Departures, The Boston Globe, and dozens more.  But wait… it gets better.  Year Five (2019) expanded the media reach even further, with more than 100 media placements ranging from USA Today, Thrillist and Brides to and Coastal Living, and the strong social influencer campaign – anchored by ABC’s The Bachelor contestant Chelsea Roy – featured a host of Instagram takeovers and collaborations to get KRC’s messaging in front of several million people.

Since then, the program continues to mature and evolve, and high profile media and key social influencers are proclaiming “This Maine Town Celebrates Valentine’s Day for the Entire Month of February” and all of KRC’s winter hotels buzz with life from late January through early March.