One Happy Island: Authentic Aruba by Concept Farm

Travel is all about human connection. It opens up worlds and minds and creates lasting bonds.

Tell us about your role in the creation of this work.
Concept Farm has been the Strategic/Creative AOR for the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) since 2012. It’s been a long and fruitful partnership and Concept Farm has been a part of record-setting increases in visitation over the last 5 years. The ATA has also been named the #1 Digital Marketing destination in the Caribbean. Specifically, my role is as the lead relationship manager and co-creative director. Also, as Concept Farm produces all the creative content for Aruba, I am often the director for our shoots.

Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about?

Aruba is the #1 Tourism dependent island in the Caribbean, so making sure Aruba stands out in the “Caribbean Sea of Sameness” is imperative for the economic well-being of the island and its people. Travel is all about human connection. It opens up worlds and minds and creates lasting bonds. (This notion often gets lost as devices create more distance between actual human touch and interaction.) In a bold, deeply integrated way, we put the Aruban people front and center and shined the spotlight on them. And it’s not just about nice smiling faces in advertising. The campaign includes digital video, social, TV, print, OOH, ecrm, as well as integration into sales and trade efforts and native content with travel media partners.

Our premise: The same reasons why Aruban’s love their happy home are the same reasons why people will want to visit…and fall in love with Aruba. Digitally driven with mobile-first UX , the content goes deep with multiple layers designed to be in lock step with the consumers inspiration and booking paths. Hero storyteller content by niche (Romance, Culture, Culinary, Adventure, Wellness, Family) with Aruban’s telling their stories…all driving to a dedicated landing page on where people can learn more about them and Aruba. A “My Aruba” series where dozens of Aruban’s give practical information on their favorite spots and experiences and how to access them and more importantly, book them. Even Papiamento lessons, focusing on words that are fun easy and people could use on their next trip to Aruba. Practical and engaging – all bringing visitor and local closer together, making the true connection of “One happy island.”

Tell us about the creative brief, what did it ask?

Aruba is famously known as “One happy island.” It’s been an island mantra and tagline for over 30 years. But as “experiential travel” becomes the new norm, people are looking to connect with a destination more deeply and really understand the culture. Respected studies from top travel brands show that experiencing a destination’s culture is the top driver of global travel. We looked to take the long-standing equity in One happy island and give it more meaning and depth. What does happiness in Aruba mean?

Which insight led to the creation of this piece of work?

Aruba is a very unique place, unlike any other in the world. Yes, it has incredible natural beauty, but most people don’t know that within the Aruban population of roughly 100,000, there are nearly 100 different nationalities all happily living together. All on an island 19 miles long by 6 miles wide! They are extremely open, diverse and connected. Aruban’s speak 5 languages and genuinely love to have people and share their home. The promise of One happy island really happens when visitor and local connect together. That’s where the magic happens. Aruba is a natural playground for visitors and locals to connect, play and laugh together.

Can you share with us any alternative ideas (if any) for this campaign?
Why was this idea chosen?

Well, in the creative exploratory, we did have other ideas that were, essentially, more generically Caribbean. And when we put the “Authentic Aruba” strategic filter on the work, those campaign just fell off. And we’re glad they did!

How did the client initially react to this idea?

The client embraced it with open arms. And kudos to them for their bold choice. It’s not an easy decision to put yourself, your people out front in a big way. Their directive to their agencies is to “Be the most Innovative and Creative Destination Marketing and Management Organization in the Caribbean.” That set the bar high…and we love that.

What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during development.

One of the greatest challenges was to make sure we were expressing the real emotion and beauty of the island without it feeling too “produced.” Our tactic was to hit it from three “angles” when producing: 1) Reality on the ground- in the moment footage of the Aruban’s daily lives. 2) Beauty from above – gorgeous stunning drone footage. 3) Storyline in the center- The thread and narrative that holds it all together.

What did you enjoy most about seeing this campaign through? Did you learn anything new from the experience?

I’d say the most rewarding part of the process was working side by side with the friendly and talented Aruban people in making the campaign. Having them tell their stories and express their love for their home. Over 100 Arubans were involved in the campaign and not just in front of the camera…Our local crew included producers, camera people, sound, drone operators, wardrobe, etc. The Arubans seamlessly integrated into the promotion of their island…and they loved it!

Where do you see this campaign going in the future?

Actually, as the campaign is primarily digital, we’re able to follow and measure engagement at every level. We’re seeing tremendous engagement on our content that unearths local gems and gives people new ways to explore Aruba. That’s where we’re headed…more experiences, more hidden gems and even more locals.

If you could go anywhere right now, where would you go? Why and have you been there before?
There are actually two islands where I’d love to be right now. Iceland. I’ve been there a few times and it is life changing. An unbelievable stimulation for all the senses. The other is, of course, Aruba! Picture perfect beaches, crystal blue waters and the warmest people on earth!

See official release.

Aruba: Vanessa: Culture
Aruba Tourism Authority Has Islanders Starring in Videos Playing up ‘Authentic Aruba’