Destined for Colourful Encounters

Colin MacLean
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Destination St. John’s launches new brand

Entertainers Sheila Williams (left) and Dana Parsons of Spirit of Newfoundland Productions, entertain the audience following the unveiling of Destination St. John’s new logo and branding models.— Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Whether it’s the cabbie saying, “Welcome to The Rock,” or the waitress who just made you feel like her new best friend. Coming to St. John’s and the northeast Avalon as a visitor is all about colourful encounters.

So that’s exactly what has been chosen as the new marketing brand for the area.

Destination St. John’s made the announcement at a packed house event in St. John’s Wednesday.

“We are very excited about the brand platform that we have developed,” said Cathy Duke, CEO of Destination St. John’s.

“Our sales team travels all over North America selling our destination and we now have a powerful set of marketing tools to help us build on our success.”

Destination St. John’s serves as a not-for-profit organization devoted to selling the products of local tourism driven businesses such as hotels, George Street and the St. John’s Convention Centre.

This new brand means whenever Destination St. John’s deals with members of the media, tourism promoters or anyone in the industry it will put the unique character of the area first and foremost in its sales pitch.

The new brand comes complete with a newly redesigned website (, a social media marketing campaign and new marketing symbols and material for promoters to use.

Foremost on the list of new symbols is a colourful brushstroke of circles, looking almost like a bow of bubbles, wrapped around the Destination St. John’s logo.

It all comes from the minds at The Idea Factory, a local marketing company that was hired to audit the previous branding.

Colourful Encounters is the result of hundreds of interviews with travel writers, tourists and promoters and countless hours of research, said Kevin Casey, chief strategy officer from The Idea Factory.

But it’s also about not being like all the other cities out there.

“When we looked at how the other cities across Canada were presenting themselves it was really ‘death by bullet points.’ It was a laundry list of ‘here are the features of our city,’” said Casey.

“We wanted a visual that shows that there’s a lot of uncommon encounters here and that there’s probably not one hour of the day alike. For us, the visual pallet that did that was the burst of energy. So we didn’t really see it as bubbles, we saw it as bursts of different types of energy and the swagger that makes up St. John’s the brand,” he said.

Additionally, two comments that kept coming up from the various interviews were how colourful, both literally and figuratively, this place was and what strange and wonderful encounters were possible here, added Casey.

“Colourful Encounters was all about the things you wont find on an itinerary or the things you won’t find in a schedule. That’s different than when you go to Disney World. That’s all packaged. We’re totally unpackaged here. The randomness is was people are looking for because it’s different than their everyday life,” he said.

St. John’s Mayor Dennis O'Keefe was also on hand for the launch and had nothing but praise for the new brand.

“I simply want to say that we are a terrific destination simply because all of the activity, and all of the energy, and all of the personality, that we have here in this room and that we have outside the room,” said O’Keefe.

Organizations: Convention Centre, Disney World

Geographic location: Avalon, North America, George Street Canada

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Recent comments

  • Anon
    February 02, 2012 - 19:50

    If you call or book another company to pick you up at the airport it will usually be cheaper. The company at the airport charges zone rates, the other companies charge a meter rate. The other companies can pick up and drop off at the airport. They can not stand by without being called or booked. Business traveller from Halifax

  • whatever bud
    February 02, 2012 - 18:20

    To IAN: the taxi from the airport costs more because the company that has the contract has a zoned flat rate system,they have to charge more because A: they have to pay for the contract and B: often times cabs are waiting a long time for airport fares due to delays,etc and it isn't fair to be waiting that long for a fare that is going around the corner. Also,you are free to call any taxi company you wish,the others charge you a metered rate,even with the recent rate increase it's only about $20 from YYT to downtown.Try to get that in Halifax or Toronto. For the other people complaining about taxis,sadly you will probably only take one or two cabs while here,so you first impressions aren't going to be terrific if you have a bad experience,Understandable. Not all the cabbies are like that,if you don't like the airport taxi service call a different company.

  • wayne
    February 02, 2012 - 15:23

    Many cab drivers barely make minimum wage and all the cab companies and fares are subject to an arcane set of rules administered (I believe) by city hall. A bit better pay would ,I think, result in a bit better cabbie. I know this would mean higher rates....but you get waht you pay for. As for a shuttle service...I'm sure if somebody thought they could make money at it then one would exist. There is NO WAY it should be subsidized in ANY fashion. I pay too much tax now

  • Ian from Victoria
    February 02, 2012 - 14:12

    I recently visited St. John's on business and used your taxis to get from the airport to my hotel downtown. Why was the rate from the airport to the hotel 6 dollars more than the return trip to the airport? Sincerely, you need a bus shuttle service from the business district to your airport. Halifax has a very efficient and cost effective one. Moncton has one too (although its schedule needs some work). You need to equal your competitors or better them.

  • Mark
    February 02, 2012 - 09:46

    Destination St. John's receives most of its revenues from a tax placed upon guests at St. John's hotel rooms. It would be an interesting study to see how many of those guests have even heard of Destination St. John's? A question of value for money from the guest perspective? this kind of tax has occurred in other cities in Atlantic Canada, but that does make it acceptable. It just means we are gypping tourists in questionable marketing operation.

  • an accidental tourist
    February 02, 2012 - 09:43

    years ago there was super host, (hospitality / hotel staff) training for taxi drivers. I think it was called Taxihost. they could certainly use it again!

  • Jeremiah
    February 02, 2012 - 09:21

    I have used the cab service to and from the airport many many times and have always found it wanting. The drivers are in desperate need of some training in the area of curtesy as well as knowledge of the city and area.I cannot imagine that the cab service would or could leave a good impressiom without training.