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December 8 , 2009

"Bold and brave" SM campaign wins top honours
CTC named 2009 Marketer of the Year

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has been awarded the prestigious Marketer of the Year for 2009 by Marketing magazine. The award comes as the CTC champions Canadian tourism with a strategy to showcase Canada to the world through the 2010 Winter Games.

It is the first time that a Crown Corporation or a west coast-based business has been honoured with the top spot. The CTC was one of only three "home-grown" Canadian corporations in Marketing's list of Top 10 Marketers and faced stiff competition from large international subsidiaries such as Kraft Canada and Cadbury Canada.

"We're thrilled with this award that recognizes the innovative work and dedication of the whole CTC team in such a challenging year and intensely competitive international tourism marketplace,” says Michele McKenzie, CTC president and CEO. “Since launching the new tourism brand - Canada. Keep Exploring - five years ago with our partners, we've come a long way from an image of moose, mountains and maple syrup."

Describing the choice of the CTC as Marketer of the Year, Marketing's Managing Editor Rebecca Harris says, "Marketing's editorial team felt 2009 was truly the culmination of the CTC's branding efforts for this country. Its marketing strategy has resulted in a fundamental shift in how travellers from around the world view Canada. It's no longer seen as 'beautiful but boring': it's fun, exciting and even a little exotic."

Through a $26 million federal investment, the CTC is leveraging the Games to inspire travellers in its key international markets to explore Canada long after the Olympic Flame is extinguished. Working with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), the CTC has selected high-profile international personalities - like India's Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar and Brazil's Olympic gold medallist César Cielo - as torchbearers for the Olympic Torch Relay. With video and images supplied by the CTC, their experiences are being broadcast back in their home countries, captivating new international audiences.

The creativity expressed through the CTC's extensive use of social media was a major factor in the award.

"What impressed us the most was CTC's groundbreaking social media strategy, which included videos showcasing travellers' real experiences,” said Harris. “It was a bold and brave move into this space, which ultimately set the CTC apart from the other nine marketers on our shortlist."

In 2009, CTC also launched LOCALS KNOW, a campaign that showcased little-known yet enticing destinations across Canada, and encouraged Canadians to share their own experiences and photos on the campaign website. Forbes.com named it as one of the Top 10 Travel Campaigns in the world. Canada also held onto second spot in the annual Country Brand Index (CBI) by FutureBrand of New York, which rates the world's most respected country brands. It leapfrogged from twelfth place in 2006 to achieve the second-ranked spot for the first time in 2008.

"This recognition means a great deal in such an intensely competitive international tourism marketplace," said Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice president, Marketing Strategy. "Our travel marketing focuses on enticing travellers with extraordinary experiences against a backdrop of vibrant cities and spectacular natural settings. That strategy is paying off."

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