Forget the Magic and the Mystery.
The Yukon is no longer Canada’s True North.
Now it’s Larger Than Life.
The grandiose moniker fits the territory’s landscape and lore, said Yukon’s tourism branch director Pierre Germain, who unveiled the new slogan on Tuesday.
The Yukon is home to the largest mountain in Canada and the largest non-polar ice cap, the largest caribou herd and more grizzly bears than you can shake a stick at (in Kluane National Park).
And then there’s the historical tall tales of the legendary gold rush and the crowds of colourful characters immortalized in the territory’s lore.
The new brand has many facets.
Over the past few weeks, the territory has been outfitted with a new logo, tagline, a new website — www.touryukon.com — and a specially commissioned song written and performed by Whitehorse musician Barbara Chamberlain.
The logo is simple and sleek and resembles a beer brand — the word Yukon is printed in a thin, square black font, underneath sits the tagline: Larger Than Life, and above hovers a golden halo of sun and mountains.
Over the next few months the old highway signs will come down and be replaced by the Larger Than Life signs.
And banners, tour guides and vacation planners will all bear the new identity.
In print ads and on the website the logo and tagline will be complemented by a series of landscape photos depicting the territory’s natural beauty — like morning sun cascading over the Tombstone mountain range or the northern lights tracing green and blue swaths through the night sky.
In the song, Chamberlain croons about the territory’s “shape-shifting light,” and the “tall tales.”
The new brand began in the summer 2005, when Yukon Tourism set out with $200,000 and one goal — to draw tourists with deep pockets to the territory.
But there were a few obstacles.
First, the territory has a relatively small marketing budget of $8 million, and is competing with destinations like Alaska whose $10-million marketing budget is supported by $30 million in cruise ship advertising.
Meanwhile, British Columbia spends $50 million and Alberta, $48 million, said Germain.
And second, to dispel the myth that “the territory has bad, unpredictable weather.”
The government began by surveying 3,000 people in Canada, the US and Germany — the most extensive research on tourism marketing the territory has ever done — to find what attracts tourists to the Yukon.
Scenery was the No. 1 response, vast wide-open spaces came second, and natural phenomenon like the northern lights and the midnight sun came a close third.
So all three elements had to be merged in the territory’s new personality, Germain told reporters Tuesday.
The newly drafted campaign targets three types of people: adventure challengers, scenic outdoor travellers and cultural explorers.
And aims to show the landscape as “warm and inviting,” “vast and unending,” and “like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
From the $200,000 and eight months of work came the logo, the tagline, the song and the media blitz.
Did the territory get its money’s worth?
“Absolutely,” said Germain, who hopes other government departments and tourism companies will use the new logo.
And maybe it’ll show up on things like the Yukon’s driver’s licence one day.
Although the brand’s effectiveness will be re-evaluated three years from now, Germain hopes it hangs around much longer than that.
“I can see the new brand having legs five years down the line, maybe more,” said Germain.