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Creating An Iconic Image For An Iconic Vacation Destination

The Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau is a tourism destination marketing organization comprised of 500-plus members. It is the Midwest’s #1 family vacation destination and attracts over three million visitors per year. Wisconsin Dells is home to a wide variety of attractions, dining and shopping, as well as stunning natural beauty. Although these are all great reasons to visit the area, it was determined that one unique selling position would be the key to effectively brand this destination to potential visitors.

  • Distinguish Wisconsin Dells from other attraction-based destinations by creating a brand that focuses on a unique selling position
  • Create a unified message that resonates with the audience across all marketing components
  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase requests for Wisconsin Dells information
  • The brand identity for Wisconsin Dells was determined to be “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®,” focusing on the best-known feature of the Dells to set this destination apart from others and reinforcing the fact that the Dells has more waterparks concentrated in one area than any other place in the world.
  • The “Waterpark Capital” identity was used on all creative materials, both broadcast and print.
  • A research-based, multi-media, integrated marketing campaign was planned and developed.
  • A television campaign that focuses on the fun and memorable qualities of Wisconsin Dells waterparks was created. The memorable spots have one recurring message – after a vacation in Wisconsin Dells, “you’ll never look at water the same way again.”
    •  To date, nine seasonal TV spots have been created, targeting different demographic audiences (including diverse audiences).
  • All print and interactive creative, along with the newly designed website, utilized “waterpark” design elements to maintain a cohesive look between pieces and reinforce the “Waterpark Capital” identity.
  • A multitude of radio spots create enthusiasm for the destination while highlighting the “Waterpark Capital” feature.
  • The brand image was incorporated into other target segments for the destination – Sports, Groups and Meetings & Conventions.
  • In order to drive information requests to the Visitor Bureau, the website and 800 number were included on all creative pieces. In addition, QR codes linked readers directly to the Bureau website.


  • Information requests/website inquiries continue to increase each year by 2-6%
  • In 2011, website inquires increased by 19% over the previous year.
  • Travel expenditures surpassed $1 billion each year of the campaign
  • Visitor spending has increased each year since campaign deployment – up 7.7% in 2011 and 4% in 2013.
  • The TV game show Jeopardy! asked players to name “The Waterpark Capital of World!®” and Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno frequently refer to Wisconsin Dells as “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®

website inquires increased


First Year Post-Launch Research Highlights:

  • 67% of the target audience recalled seeing the television spots
  • 86% agreed that the TV spots portrayed Wisconsin Dells as a good family vacation destination
  • 82% agreed that the TV spots reflected the Waterpark brand
  • 86% agreed that the TV spots made them want to visit Wisconsin Dells
Web Design

target audience aware of campaign

2014 Ad Awareness/Effectiveness Research Highlights:

  • 91% of the target audience was aware of the Wisconsin Dells branding campaign
    • Unprecedented levels compared to other DMOs
    • Increase from 80% awareness in 2011
  • Awareness by Media
    • 81% have seen the TV spots
    • 69% have seen the outdoor boards
    • 38% have seen the online ads
    • 34% have heard the radio spots
  • Nearly half of all target households were aware of three or more media elements of the campaign
  • Based on DMO benchmarks, Wisconsin Dells messaging was in the top 10% of all DMA marketing for conveying the following:
    • A good place for family trip
    • A place where I would have fun
    • Is believable