Emma Johnston-Wheeler
May 21, 2024

Vancouver wants to be Sydney’s cool Canadian friend

The Australian targeted campaign by Destination Vancouver aims to make the city a must visit rather than a stop over on the way to Whistler.

Vancouver wants to be Sydney’s cool Canadian friend

Who: Destination Vancouver with Will for creative and strategy; PostPro Media for production; Wave Productions for audio; MET Fine Printers for print; and Noise x Havas for media. 

What: “Make Friends with Vancouver,” a campaign encouraging Australians to vote to make Vancouver one of Sydney’s official “Friendship Cities.”

When and where: The campaign is running in Sydney from May 13 to July 8 including a 30-second anchor video for social, as well as static posts, targeted digital display and OOH placements. All executions drive to a dedicated microsite where Australians can sign a petition to make Vancouver an official Friendship City for a chance to win a trip to visit.

Why: BC’s ski resorts are one of the most popular destinations in the world for Australian skiers and snowboarders, but they tend to overshadow Vancouver, positioning it as a stop-over as opposed to a destination in its own right. To change that, Destination Vancouver set out to convince Australians that Vancouver is worth the stay.

The “Friendship City” program, which has been running since 1998, aims to strengthen connections with cities that share Sydney’s values and goals (economic, trade, cultural). Currently, Sydney has Friendship City relationships with cities like Athens, Berlin and Chicago, which was the last city added in 2019. 

Destination Vancouver posits that Vancouver and Sydney share a focus on sustainability and diversity, as well as the more obvious coastal location, active lifestyle and welcoming culture– making Vancouver the ideal candidate for Sydney’s next Friendship City.

“Sydney and Vancouver share a lot of the same DNA,” said Will executive creative director Lisa Lebedovich, in a release. “When we learned about the Friendship City program, it felt like the perfect opportunity to leverage an existing initiative to build Vancouver’s reputation as a worthwhile destination for Australians seeking a refreshing escape.”

How: The campaign uses a cheeky tone to present Vancouver as Sydney’s “cool Canadian friend.” “We'll be your cool friend literally,” states one ad, and “Let’s be friends with benefits,” says another. 

The 30-second anchor spot is formatted like a letter to Sydney from Vancouver, with an affable voiceover describing the fun things they can do together as new friends like “go on adventures,” “eat tasty food,” and “drink beer together,” references to the city’s many outdoor attractions, restaurants, and breweries. 

Destination Vancouver - Make Friends With Vancouver - 30s from Will on Vimeo.

“We complete each other. You’re hot. We're cool. You’re rugby. We're hockey. You’re laid back. We're also laid back,” states the voiceover, before inviting the viewer to visit the microsite to vote to make Vancouver an official Friendship City. 

The results from the petition, along with a care package that includes a sampling of locally made Vancouver goods, will be sent to the Lord Mayor of Sydney to sweeten the proposition.

And we quote: “Building on Canada’s reputation for friendliness feels natural, but the way we’re doing it is fresh and unexpected. We challenged ourselves to break away from tourism marketing conventions and make some new friends in the process


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