Come take a journey. Or rather Journey.
Belize, the small English-speaking Central American nation, may not have the cache of some of its Caribbean neighbors, but it does have plenty going for it — like, for example, fans such as Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who gushed about a recent trip to Belize on Twitter and Instagram.
Never can say good bye- Belize rocks! @ Belize https://t.co/54iSqHGkns
— Jonathan Cain (@TheJonathanCain) August 22, 2014
Not one to miss an opportunity, the Belize Tourism Board and its agency Olson spotted the mentions and commissioned local Belizean band, the Laru Beya Boys, to mix up their own version of the hit 1981 Journey hit “Don’t Stop Believin'” called — wait for it — “Don’t Stop Belizein’.”
The turnaround time was swift, just 48 hours, and the payoff palpable. The seven-minute song has been listened to over 1,000 times on SoundCloud in three days. According to Tweetreach, there have been 73 tweets for 310,000 impressions about the song so far. Cain even retweeted the song.
— Belize Tourism Board (@belizevacation) August 25, 2014
“We love sharing our music; we think it makes a big difference in promoting Belize,” said Emmett Usher, a member of the Laru Beya Boys.
“We are so delighted because through this, we reached out to not just Jonathan but also his fan base on an authentic level,” Alyssa Carnegie, the director of marketing for the Belize Tourism Board, said, adding that the board was always looking for opportunities to connect and engage with travelers personally.
It’s not the first time that Olson and Belize Tourism Board have dabbled playfully in real-time marketing. Last winter, when the polar vortex hit the east coast, an experiment involving throwing boiling water into the air and watching it turn to ice went viral. Belize retaliated with a hilarious Instagram video showing what happened when you did that in the country’s 80-degree weather. (Hint: it doesn’t freeze.)
Prior to that, they also offered free vacations to the cast of “Breaking Bad” last summer, taking a potshot at Belize in the show in their stride.
Their efforts seem to be working. According to the Central Belize Bank, Belize saw a 6.1 percent growth in tourism between 2012 and 2013.
“The simplicity of our strategy is what makes us stand out,” David Fiedler, the group creative director at Olson, said about the ongoing partnership. “Whatever we do has to not only be enticing for potential travelers but also feel authentic to a Belizean.”