Photo-Crashing Squirrel Leads to Social Media Win for Banff Lake Louise Tourism

    More than 82 Million Impressions around the world

    BANFF, AB, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - Quick thinking and a well-established social
media program helped Banff Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT) turn the latest global
internet sensation into a marketing dynamo for Banff National Park.
    "Two years ago, we launched an integrated social media program including
the weekly Real Banff video report, a blog, Facebook page and Twitter
profile," said Julie Canning, president and CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.
"When the "Crasher Squirrel" literally popped out of nowhere, our social media
team was ready and able to quickly take advantage of the opportunity."
    Within hours of the Banff Crasher Squirrel taking off as the newest
internet meme, BLLT had created a promotional YouTube video, the
@Banff_Squirrel on Twitter, a search engine marketing campaign based on the
squirrel keyword, a Banff Crasher Squirrel Facebook page, and had "crashed"
the homepage of the BLLT website with the curious rodent.
    "The power of social media allows smaller destination marketing
organizations to compete on the world stage -- provided they act fast. Those
who are nimble can leverage communication opportunities like this to their
advantage. Banff jumped on this opportunity without hesitation and the
immediate results have been exceptional," said Greg Klassen, senior vice
president, the Canadian Tourism Commission.
    As the squirrel meme took off, BLLT also leveraged the efforts of
developers who independently created applications to add the Banff Crasher
Squirrel to Twitter avatars, "Quip-art" to superimpose the squirrel on
websites and United Playco's Banff Crasher Squirrel iPhone application. BLLT
negotiated with Quip-Art and Playco to include links to BLLT's website, create
a customized iPhone app for BLLT use and include information on Banff and Lake
Louise within the applications.
    BLLT then used the applications as a social media pitch to journalists
and online influentials around the world, photo-crashing the Banff Squirrel
onto each target's website. The pitches extended the news cycle and resulted
in coverage on leading blogs including CNBC's Funny Business, National
Geographic Traveler,, the Twitter Blog, and many others.
    "The challenge wasn't to make the Banff Squirrel become more 'viral'",
said Steve Wright, president of Arcade Consulting, BLLT's social media agency.
"The real task was to harness the momentum of the Squirrel to direct attention
back to Banff as a tourism destination."
    BLLT also mobilized its tourism partners in Banff and Lake Louise to
create squirrel-themed promotional packages, promoted the squirrel via the
organization's blog and even arranged to have a pop-up cutout of the squirrel
added to an outdoor billboard in Alberta.
    BLLT's quick response was rewarded when the tourism organization's
YouTube video was featured on broadcast news reports including CNN's Situation
Room and a wide range of other US-based channels.
    The @Banff_Squirrel on Twitter has attracted more than 1,000 followers
and the "squirrel's" tweets have reached more than 385,000 Twitter users,
placing @Banff_Squirrel in the top 98 percentile of Twitter users just two
weeks after launch.
    "Banff Crasher Squirrel: The Movie" has been viewed more than 35,000
times, placing it among the most popular travel videos for the week in many
countries including Canada, USA, UK, Poland and Australia. The video was also
featured among the Top 10 of over Crasher Squirrel 1300 submissions on, the site where the meme first took off.
    In total, BLLT estimates that the Banff Crasher Squirrel resulted in more
than 82 million impressions on TV, in print and online around the world,
popping up in more than 70 countries including Japan and China to India, the
UK, South Africa and Australia.

    Photo to accompany release

    About Banff Lake Louise Tourism

    Banff Lake Louise Tourism is a destination marketing organization for the
Town of Banff, Community of Lake Louise and Banff National Park. Supporting
over 800 businesses, our mission is to engage visitors in unrivalled,
remarkable experiences with our membership. For travel media inquiries, please
contact Tulene Steiestol at,

For further information:

For further information: Tulene Steiestol, Senior Manager, Travel Media
Relations, Office: (403) 762-0290

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Banff Lake Louise Tourism

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