British Columbia Looks Past Olympics

Having seen Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and domestic actors and athletes succeed with TV spots to promote California tourism, British Columbia has produced its own celebrity-driven campaign to pull in American tourists after the Winter Olympics.

B.C. has already dropped a mint to stage the Vancouver/Whistler Games next month and the Paralympics in March. So the western-most Canadian province shelled out another $38 million to break through the commercial clutter in February with a slick TV push to keep Americans visiting after the Olympic flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies on March 1.

The Canadian commercial captures Michael J. Fox, Ryan Reynolds and NBA great Steve Nash promoting and positioning B.C.’s nature-based holiday destinations with catch-phrases like “It’s big” and “beautiful.”

Also featured are Canadian actors Kim Cattrall and Eric McCormack and songstress Sarah McLachlan standing beside towering forests and peaks and Vancouver’s shimmering skyline to celebrate the province’s coastal expanse and sophistication.

This isn’t the first time Canadian cities have used celebrity endorsers to encourage tourism. Ontario in 2003 underwrote the SARSstock relief concert with the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Justin Timberlake and other acts to show it was safe for Americans to visit Toronto after the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome health scare.

See also: “Social Rings for Winter Olympics”