Rebranding a hidden Caribbean travel destination to the adventure- and experience-seeking millennial market.

The Origins

The inception of the Dominica Film Challenge marked a pivotal moment in the promotion and awareness of Dominica as a unique Caribbean destination. The concept was devised for the Discover Dominica Authority with two primary objectives: to significantly raise awareness about the island and to rejuvenate its image library with high-quality, professional content for advertising and promotional purposes.

This innovative approach focused on engaging a select group of influential content creators, inviting them to capture the essence of Dominica through their lenses. The idea was not just about creating a standard marketing campaign; it was about storytelling, showcasing the island through diverse, creative perspectives that would resonate with a global audience.

The event, held for two consecutive years, surpassed all expectations. It transformed into an award-winning global phenomenon, generating awareness and content that far exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts. The success of the Dominica Film Challenge was a testament to the power of creative collaboration and innovative marketing strategies in the digital age.

My personal journey to Dominica, undertaken as a solo adventure, played a crucial role in shaping the direction of this campaign. Representing Bolin Marketing, the North American Agency of Record for the Discover Dominica Tourism Authority, I experienced firsthand the raw, untamed beauty of Dominica. It was an adventurer’s paradise, starkly different from the typical Caribbean offerings focused on leisurely beach holidays.

Up until that point, Dominica’s marketing efforts were aligned with competing against more established Caribbean destinations, emphasizing similar themes of relaxation and beachside leisure. However, the true essence of Dominica was its uncharted, rugged landscape – a haven for explorers and adventure-seekers. It became clear that the island’s potential as a destination for exploration and adventure needed to be highlighted to attract travelers like myself, who yearned for more than the traditional Caribbean holiday experience.

The Dominica Film Challenge, therefore, emerged not just as a marketing campaign, but as a movement to redefine and reintroduce Dominica to the world. It was about unearthing the hidden gems of the island and presenting a narrative that appealed to those seeking a unique, off-the-beaten-path adventure. The challenge successfully put Dominica on the map as a must-visit destination for adventurers and explorers, altering perceptions and inviting the world to experience the island’s unspoiled natural beauty.

The Challenge

The “Dominica Film Challenge” is an annual event designed to showcase the natural beauty and cultural richness of Dominica, an island in the Caribbean. This creative endeavor invites filmmakers, photographers, and storytellers from around the world to capture the essence of Dominica through their unique lenses.

Participants are given a week to explore the island, known for its lush rainforests, vibrant underwater environments, and diverse local communities. They create short films, photo essays, or other multimedia pieces that highlight Dominica’s landscapes, wildlife, and cultural practices, like music, dance, and traditional crafts.

The challenge culminates in a public showcase where these works are displayed, celebrating the island’s allure and the talent of the participants. The event aims not only to promote tourism but also to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Dominica’s ecological and cultural treasures.

The Results

Visibility and impact:

Over 62 million online impressions  in the first year (well over 100 million in two years)

Google searches up 49%

150% increase in organic search to the DMO tourism website

5% increase in overall traffic to the tourism website

75% growth in social communities

Follow on feature stories in Wall Street Journal, Backpacker magazine and LIAT’s inflight  magazine, Zing!

Content/Image library refresh:

Thousands of pieces of new high quality content

A dozen  examples of engaging film content that sells the destination

Two dozen new source market ambassadors