Explore St. Louis’ Star-Studded Marketing Campaign Delivers Sparkling Results

Tuesday September 27, 2022

By Catherine Neville

Ad Impact Ratings Among the Top 10% in the Industry

ST. LOUIS – In an effort to quantify the impact of the award-winning St. Louis celebrity TV campaign, a star-studded marketing effort to bring more tourism to the region, Explore St. Louis (ESL) and Strategic Marketing & Research Insights (SMARInsights) today announced key findings about the multi-million-dollar endeavor, showing that ad impact ratings were among the top 10% in the industry.

After conducting 1,364 surveys in large, small and other markets in the Midwest, the SMARInsights team compared their results to 2019, which reflect pre-pandemic numbers. Using this data, the team measured the St. Louis celebrity campaign ads that ran from March to June of 2022 in both print and digital formats, reaching a total of 7.8 million households.

Highlights include:

  • ESL’s ad impact ratings are the best they ever achieved, positioning the campaign among the top 10% in the industry
  • 73% of St. Louisans are aware of the celebrity campaign and 62% of respondents in Midwest feeder markets registered awareness.
  • 59% of those aware of the advertising took some action to gather information about St. Louis such as visiting the ESL website.
  • Two-thirds of St. Louis residents agree that they are proud of St. Louis, and more than three-fourths agree that tourism is good for their community – both measures were higher when residents were asked of their own cities in Kansas City, Chicago and Memphis. 
  • With nearly 282,000 ad-aware households, the ads could generate more than 18,000 St. Louis trips from the Memphis market.
  • With 272,000 ad-aware travelers, Kansas City could generate 27,000 St. Louis visits in the coming year.
  • Chicago’s population makes even this small boost notable; with 1.1 million ad-aware households, the ads could generate nearly 24,000 visits.
  • Smaller markets – Champaign, Paducah, Peoria, and Springfield – are very positive about St. Louis, with a quarter of unaware travelers likely to visit. The ads lift St. Louis as the most likely destination. With more than 600,000 ad-aware travelers, these markets could be the source of nearly 79,000 visits this year.

Explore St. Louis launched the St. Louis celebrity campaign in 2017 to promote the city as a top travel destination, a series of TV spots that feature celebrities such as Sterling K Brown, John Goodman, Jenna Fischer, Ozzie Smith, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Andy Cohen, Nikki Glaser, Jenifer Lewis and Becky Sauerbrunn. This campaign has received awards from the Missouri Division of Tourism, two Mid-America Emmy Awards and the HSMAI Adrian Awards Best in Show.

To view the commercials, visit https://explorestlouis.com/intheknow.