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'Welcome seeker': Cape Town targets youth with game-inspired campaign

New interactive experience seeks to reboot tourism after the pandemic and showcase the Mother City’s attractions to millennial and Gen-Z travellers

05 April 2022 - 09:42 By Elizabeth Sleith
A hologram welcomes players to the game.
A hologram welcomes players to the game.
Image: Cape Town Tourism

A new campaign launched by Cape Town Tourism is looking to reboot the city’s fortunes by attracting younger travellers using a never-before-seen gamer-style format that invites the “player” to explore according to their own interests.

Also aiming to show how the Mother City has something for everyone, the landmark Find Your Freedom immersive travel experience lets “seekers” start by first choosing their language (English or German), and then the overall theme of their adventure based on one of three guides: the Fearless Foodie, the Nature Warrior or the Urban Adventurer.

Each guide has a card describing their character attributes. Anathi the Urban Adventurer “believes that culture isn’t static. It’s evolving,” and has the powers of “trend-setting, finding secret city gems and being effortlessly cool”.

Anathi the Urban Adventurer "believes that culture isn't static".
Anathi the Urban Adventurer "believes that culture isn't static".
Image: Cape Town Tourism

Storm the Nature Warrior believes that “experiences are forever” and that “life is about the sea, stars and sun”. His powers are “uncovering secret beaches, naming local birds and flowers, lighting a camp fire with no matches”.

Thabiso the Fearless Foodie believes that “food is a way of showing love and sharing cultures and traditions”. His powers are “finding hidden food spots, crafting killer cocktails, and sniffing out a gatsby a mile away”.

Based on which character they identify with, the “player” then gets to choose between a variety of appropriate experiences, such as art or history for the urban adventurer; under water or on land for nature lovers; a cooking course or fine dining for the foodies.

Each selection launches a short video showcasing some of the city’s best attractions in each category, and the adventure “ends” with a call to explore more — suggested itineraries and ways to book. 

The campaign also has several featured partners offering discount vouchers which can be downloaded from the website. These include Hazendal wine estate and Ubizo Events and Tours, which offers walking and cycling tours in Langa township.

Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, says the campaign “uses the latest digital technology to immerse viewers in unique, choice-driven video experiences. You choose your guide. You choose your adventure. It’s an interactive journey from start to finish.

Millennials, especially, have a keen sense of adventure and desire to travel with purpose. Our aim is to appeal to this
Leigh Dawber, chief marketing officer at Cape Town Tourism

“It’s fast-paced, captivating and unlike anything any other destination marketing organisation worldwide is doing.”

Alderman James Vos, Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic growth, says, “Following the pandemic, people worldwide are itching to explore, do more, and reclaim that sense of purpose. We want to encourage individuals ... to jump on a plane and come to Cape Town to find their freedom.

“This new campaign really hits the mark not just in terms of being something original and fun, but most importantly, being enticing enough, I believe, to result in actual bookings.”

All characters are designed to be visually striking, in gaming-inspired, Afro-futurist graphics but the fact that viewers get to make their own choices is the cornerstone of the campaign.

Leigh Dawber, chief marketing officer at Cape Town Tourism, says, “With the creeping onset of the metaverse, choice will continue to govern virtual experiences that feel ever more real. In this campaign, we’ve combined real-life footage of Cape Town with whimsical CGI touches.

“Many of us remember those iconic Choose Your Own Adventure childhood books. This campaign works in a similar way. It’s innovative and inspiring. It lets you dictate how you explore our beautiful city. Millennials, especially, have a keen sense of adventure and desire to travel with purpose. Our aim is to appeal to this.

“The more personalised you can make your experience of the Mother City, the more likely you are to plan the trip of a lifetime.”

At the campaign launch, Duminy said, “We can’t engage with millennials like we have always done as brands and destinations. Posting on Facebook or advertising on TV may have worked with older baby boomers or Gen Xers; it won’t work with millennials. We need to understand that this generation are truly digital natives and pioneers of the digital travel journey.”

Duminy said millennials use social media to experience a destination before they arrive and value the opinions of their friends and influencers above anyone else.

The Find Your Freedom immersive travel experience also leans on the idea of co-creation. Cape Town Tourism is working with GoPro Global, where six international ambassadors will share what ‘“Find Your Freedom” in Cape Town means through their lens.

Dawber says, “The idea with this initiative is to delve into a different kind of storytelling. This partnership will see these renowned creatives share their stories, their way.”

Storm the Nature Warrior believes that "life is about the sea, stars and sun".
Storm the Nature Warrior believes that "life is about the sea, stars and sun".
Image: Cape Town Tourism
Thabiso the Fearless Foodie believes that "food is a way of showing love and sharing cultures and traditions".
Thabiso the Fearless Foodie believes that "food is a way of showing love and sharing cultures and traditions".
Image: Cape Town Tourism

Cape Town Tourism is also partnering with Expedia on conversion, enabling visitors to effortlessly book and enjoy special travel packages and discounts.

Ultimately, Find Your Freedom works to restore confidence in Cape Town, which suffered greatly from the global travel bans over the past two years. 

Duminy concludes, “Cape Town represents freedom for all and now’s the time to find your freedom!”

To play, visit CapeTown.Travel.

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