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Polar Winter Festival: Marketing a Winter Wonderland

John Bastawrous
Written By
John Bastawrous
Published On
Jan 26, 2022
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Since 2020, The Influence Agency has been The Concierge Clubs’ trusted marketing partner.  For the past two years, we have worked to ensure their Toronto-based banner holiday event “Polar Festival” is a huge success; receiving the awareness, audience, and praise that it deserves. 

The holiday season is a time of merriment and cheer! Gift-giving is at an all-time high, as is the anticipation of a much-needed holiday break. As obligations start to wind down, we’re looking to ramp up the activities and events to celebrate the season. 

Enter Polar Winter Festival; Toronto’s most lively walk-thru Winter Festival! 

Polar Winter Festival is a yearly event put on by The Concierge Club, event marketing specialists located in Toronto. During its inaugural year, Canada was in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the Holiday season approached, Polar was born out of a desire to give Canadians a safe yet enjoyable Holiday experience.  The 2020 Polar Festival was a drive-thru experience hosted at Pearson International Airport where customers and their vehicles drove through 5 floors of magical holiday sights and sounds. 

For 2021 as COVID restrictions began to ease, the Concierge Club decided to evolve the concept of Polar Festival into a robust holiday walk-through experience located in Bandshell Park, Toronto, complete with games, rides, a real-life Santa to take photos with, and a live DJ that brought the heat. 

Two kids posing for a photo with Santa

Get Digital With Your Customers

As the Holiday season approached in the GTA, Torontonians were primed and ready to get out and attend a handful of winter experiences with their friends and family. The ongoing COVID pandemic persisted but as restrictions began to loosen in November 2021, this laid the groundwork for event organizers city-wide to capitalize on the Holidays. By mid-December 2021, there were nearly 50+ holiday-themed experiences across the GTA that locals could explore either by foot or by vehicle. 

With increased competition, The Concierge Club decided to leave nothing to chance and placed a strong emphasis on the powers of marketing in an effort to tell the entire GTA about Polar Winter Festival!   

While facing a multitude of opposition in a highly competitive time, The Concierge Club would entrust The Influence Agency to preach from the mountain tops why Polar Winter Festival was THE holiday walk-thru event of the season, and that it was simply unmissable. 

In today’s digital day and age, consumers are everywhere;  in Canada in 2021, there are 31.88 million smartphone users relying on their phones for information.  

So what do we do? 

BeaverTail pastry food truck at Polar Winter Festival

Social Media Platforms for Organic Awareness

We leveraged social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to advertise Polar’s photos, videos, and key details to the masses. 

As a result, we organically grew the account’s audience by 7K new users, saw 5.2M impressions across both platforms, and saw 9K+ engagements. Oh, and we did it all in just 60 days! 

Video Content to Capture Attention

We know that 80% of Canadians use their phone to watch videos, and we also know that the average Canadian’s attention span is down to only 8 seconds. What does this mean? It means that if you’re looking for a way to capture someone’s attention, a video might just be the best way to go. 

So – Our branded content team attended Polar and captured incredible footage of the event that was used across all digital marketing efforts. 

As a result, Polar’s video content saw nearly 8K+ organic video views. 

Two people laughing and holding hot chocolate

Custom Ads Based on Search Queries

We leveraged search-engine powerhouse Google to display ads about Polar Winter Festival to users searching for relevant queries, like “holiday events”,  “things to do in Toronto”, “winter experiences”, and more. 

Influencer Marketing as a Trusted Voice

We invited influential personalities across the GTA to join us at Polar Winter Festival and to tell their audience all about it through their posts and real-time stories. 

As a result, we saw 52K Engagements from 17 Influencers at an 8% Engagement Rate. Each engagement from an influencer, on average, only cost The Concierge Club $0.18! We not only garnered mass attention for the event, but we also did so efficiently.  

A family in the light tunnel at Polar Winter Festival

Email Marketing For Flash Sales & Promos

Like any great event, Polar Winter Festival had a promotional strategy in place to help increase sales in calculated clusters. We leveraged a large email database and deployed 4 total newsletters over the course of 60 days.  

As a result, we saw over 94K+ email opens with an average email open rate of 27%, meaning that over 1 in 4 email recipients opened and engaged with the email.  

To Put A Bow On It

Overall, our marketing strategy for Polar Winter festival was a holistic one, and it had to be. With over 50 events in the GTA putting on a holiday experience, we had to deploy a multitude of tactics all with a succinct strategy just to stand out. 

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