Salty the Sea Otter

Tourism Ucluelet

While Ucluelet loves welcoming people to their remote, wild location, in recent years, they’ve experienced a massive influx of tourists in the summer months. By the spring of 2022, the town needed a campaign aimed at helping visitors understand the delicate natural balance and how to be respectful and responsible while enjoying.

The challenge was to create a fun and engaging campaign that communicated the town’s ethos that educated audiences about more sustainable behaviours—without being seen as preachy or stiff. From this, Salty the Sea Otter was born: a Ucluetian who gives visitors helpful tips about how to visit in a playful but no-nonsense way.

We wanted Salty to be able to interact within the actual environment and with real people, so we needed a way to bring him to life that would let us adapt to unpredictable situations. So we hired a professional puppet-maker to help us create him, and after a few variations, we landed on just the right look. Next, we cast a professional comedian as Salty’s voice: we needed someone who could make the jokes land. And because Salty would be interacting with actual travellers in some instances, we wanted someone with strong ad lib skills. Armed with our puppet and comedic talent, we created videos and online ads that have Salty offering travellers tips on how to fit in with the locals by properly disposing of trash, camping in designated areas, staying on hiking paths, not feeding wildlife and more.

In July alone, we delivered 238,003 programmatic impressions, exceeding our target of 231,386 with an additional 6,617 bonus impressions. The campaign led 3,210 qualified leads to the website and saw results up to 10x higher than average Google click-through rates. Engagement across all social media channels experienced a notable uptick. And while it can be hard to measure campaigns which try to change behaviour, local business owners did mention a noticeable improvement in visitor behaviour and self-awareness.