As the Senior Art Director for Tourism Santa Fe, our mission was to shift Santa Fe’s perception from a primarily seasonal destination to a vibrant, year-round cultural and adventure hotspot. This case study explores the challenges we faced, the strategic research and innovative solutions we implemented, and the significant outcomes achieved.


Tourism Santa Fe faced several significant challenges from the outset. The city’s rich cultural and historical offerings were overshadowed by its narrow association with desert landscapes and seasonal travel. Additionally, competition from well-established destinations and inconsistent branding diluted Santa Fe’s presence in the tourism market. Our primary challenge was to refresh Santa Fe’s brand identity, extend its appeal, and boost visitation, particularly during off-peak seasons. We aimed to reengage past visitors, broaden the narrative to inform prospective visitors of the diverse experiences available, enhance digital engagement, and promote off-peak visitation to improve hotel occupancy and stimulate economic activity during quieter times.


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Innovative Research Approach

Our agency embarked on a comprehensive research strategy combining quantitative and qualitative methods to deeply understand our target audiences and the distinct allure of Santa Fe. We engaged over 200 local representatives from the arts, heritage, culture, hospitality, and retail sectors to gain invaluable perspectives on Santa Fe’s brand essence. Tools like Longwoods Quantitative Research & Nsight Travel Intelligence helped develop personas and understand travel behaviors, refining our strategy to meet potential visitors’ preferences. Additionally, we utilized CubeYou & Potential Human Reach for psychographic profiles and social media insights, sharpening our digital campaign targeting.

Creative and Strategic Execution

At the heart of our creative for Santa Fe was a comprehensive visual storytelling strategy, highlighting the city’s eight distinctive pillars: culture, history, outdoor adventure, cuisine, the arts, performing arts, relaxation, and retail. This approach showcased Santa Fe’s rich blend of experiences in a way that only Santa Fe could own. By interweaving familiar concepts with the city’s inherent uniqueness and embracing “The City Different” as our central tagline, we distinguished Santa Fe’s heritage and appeal, setting it apart from competitors like New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, and Austin. Our campaign resonated with our target audience by authentically representing Santa Fe’s unique offerings, ensuring consistency and resonance across all platforms. 

Dynamic Advertising Campaigns

Our engaging print and out-of-home advertisements, in harmony with strategic online content, video, and social media campaigns, brought to life the multifaceted allure of Santa Fe as a vibrant, year-round cultural destination. Each campaign was meticulously designed to highlight the eight critical pillars of experiences that define Santa Fe.

  • Cuisine: Our campaigns painted a picture of Santa Fe’s culinary landscape as a melting pot of flavors, showcasing its farm-to-table restaurants, outdoor markets, and food festivals that celebrate local ingredients and New Mexican traditions.
  • Culture: We highlighted Santa Fe’s rich tapestry of cultural heritage, from its Native American roots to its Spanish colonial history, through vibrant festivals, art exhibitions, and museum showcases that invite exploration and understanding.
  • History: Our ads emphasized Santa Fe’s status as one of the oldest cities in the U.S., inviting visitors to step back in time through its historic sites, ancient pueblos, and centuries-old missions that tell the story of America’s past.
  • Outdoor Adventure: We showcased the natural beauty of Santa Fe’s landscape, from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the Rio Grande’s white waters, as a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, highlighting hiking, skiing, and biking opportunities.
  • Performing Arts: Our campaigns spotlighted Santa Fe’s thriving performing arts scene, from opera under the stars at the Santa Fe Opera to intimate jazz performances and vibrant dance shows, illustrating the city’s artistic diversity.
  • Relaxation: We promoted Santa Fe as a haven for relaxation, featuring its luxurious spas, serene wellness retreats, and hot springs, inviting visitors to unwind and rejuvenate in its tranquil settings.
  • Retail: Our advertisements celebrated Santa Fe’s unique shopping experiences, from artisan markets and boutique stores offering handcrafted jewelry, art, and fashion, emphasizing the city’s reputation as a treasure trove for shoppers.
  • Visual Arts: We highlighted Santa Fe’s renowned art scene, showcasing its world-class galleries, street art installations, and art festivals that make the city a global art destination, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in visual creativity.


Our efforts resulted in significant achievements. We observed a considerable increase in social media engagement, including a 378% rise in Instagram followers, highlighting the campaign’s extensive reach and resonance. The “The City Different” landing page saw a 108% jump in sessions, reflecting the compelling nature of our digital storytelling. The campaign delivered 77 million media impressions, substantially boosting Santa Fe’s national presence. Indicators such as hotel occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR all pointed towards increased visitation and revenue, marking the success of our strategy to promote Santa Fe as a year-round attraction.


Under my creative direction, the Tourism Santa Fe campaign emerged as a beacon of strategic creativity and marketing innovation. We not only transformed perceptions but also drove economic growth, solidifying Santa Fe’s position as a year-round cultural destination. This endeavor highlights the effectiveness of clear goal setting, strategic planning, and the profound impact of creative storytelling in tourism marketing.