Embracing AI: Insights from the Mitarry Best Campaign

In the fast-paced world of marketing, innovation is the name of the game. Destination brands are constantly seeking new ways to capture the attention of travelers and stand out in a crowded marketplace, Artificial intelligence (AI) being one of them.

In episodes 8 and 10 of the Brands & Campaigns podcast, Host Camden Bernatz talked with Stuart Butler, CMO of Visit Myrtle Beach, and Adam Stoker, CEO of EKR. Together, they delved into the Mitarry Best Campaign — a groundbreaking AI-driven rebranding initiative for Myrtle Beach. This campaign serves as a compelling case study, highlighting the significant transformative potential of AI within the field of destination marketing.

The Genesis of Mitarry Best

The team at Visit Myrtle Beach and McGee Global embarked on a mission to challenge traditional advertising norms and captivate audiences through creativity and entertainment, leveraging the power of AI.

AI’s ambitious task included generating a new logo, designing a Times Square billboard, and even AI photoshoots that depicted families enjoying the beach’s offerings. The result? Myrtle Beach was humorously dubbed “Mitarry Best,” a playful twist that became the campaign’s focal point.

Launching into the Unkown: Mitarry Best’s Viral Journey

The most daring campaign decision was its launch on Reddit, a platform renowned for its discerning community. Stuart Butler recounted the exhilarating moments when the team opened the floodgates to unfiltered feedback, unsure of what the response would entail. To their delight, the campaign went viral, capturing the attention of millions and igniting conversations far and wide.

The Mitarry Best campaign made waves across diverse channels, garnering over 40 million impressions on Reddit and earning mentions in two Ad Age articles within just one week. Its unconventional and humorous content struck a chord with users, fostering robust community engagement.

Reddit users actively joined discussions and passionately defended the campaign against any criticism it faced. Extensive press coverage further amplified the campaign’s reach, positioning Myrtle Beach as a destination that embraces innovation and unconventional approaches.

The unexpected demand for merchandise featuring the Mitarry Best identity underscored the campaign’s success in resonating with the audience. Leveraging this momentum, the team swiftly capitalized on the demand by launching an online store, further fueling discussions about the evolving landscape of advertising.

From Virality to Vitality: Redefining Myrtle Beach Branding

The success of Mitarry Best extended beyond mere virality; it sparked a genuine connection with audiences, redefining Myrtle Beach as a destination that transcended the ordinary. Stuart Butler eloquently articulated the campaign’s ethos: to disrupt conventional advertising methods and foster authentic relationships through engaging content. By infusing humor, creativity, and a touch of irreverence, Myrtle Beach emerged not only as an attractive destination but as a beacon of innovation and trendsetting.

Adam Stoker explained, “Being an early adopter is very high risk and very high reward. You can put a lot of time and resources into something and have it fail miserably, but on the other side, it was newsworthy because nobody else had done anything like this.” Mitarry Best is the prime example of a high-risk, high-reward.

By venturing beyond the conventional and embracing innovation, the team created a campaign that captured the imagination of millions and put Myrtle Beach on the map in a whole new way while still maintaining a unified brand narrative. This willingness to take risks and push the boundaries of creativity is what sets destination marketers like Stuart and his team apart, paving the way for groundbreaking campaigns that leave a lasting impression.

The Future of AI in Marketing

The future of marketing is linked with the rapid evolution of AI technology. As emphasized by both Adam Stoker and Stuart Butler, brands must stay informed about AI’s capabilities and applications. “This is not a fad. This is not going away,” Stuart asserted. “This is going to change the way we do the work for the better.”

As AI continues to advance, brands must embrace innovation and leverage its potential to enhance their marketing efforts, engage new audiences, and create memorable experiences for travelers. The Mitarry Best campaign shows what’s possible when human creativity and AI technology converge, paving the way for a new era of destination marketing excellence.

As we look towards the future of marketing, the fusion of AI and human creativity emerges as a driving force for innovation. From personalized recommendations to immersive experiences, AI-powered campaigns offer boundless opportunities for brands to connect with audiences on a deeper level. Mitarry Best will always serve as a valuable case study for brands aiming to set themselves apart through creativity, humor, and innovative storytelling.

For those interested in learning more about this campaign and other clever marketing strategies, listen to the Brands & Campaigns podcast.

If you need marketing assistance, contact EKR.

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