Los Cabos International Film Festival

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Reese Witherspoon made an appearance at the Los Cabos International Film Festival as her film Wild made its Mexican debut. She is pictured here at a press conference held prior to the film screening on opening night of the festival.

Background:

CIIC was hired to promote and garner exposure for the Los Cabos International Film Festival’s third-annual edition, which was slated to take place in the beloved tourism destination of Los Cabos Mexico November 12-16, 2014. Securing coverage in travel/tourism and lifestyle media outlets in the U.S. market for this Festival, which had recently undergone a name change and is a fairly new addition to the film festival circuit, was the primary objective.

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Challenge:

The agency was brought on in late summer of 2014 to promote the Film Festival’s third edition. For this edition, the Festival had a branding/name change – the Festival was formerly known as the Baja International Film Festival – and we were charged with building awareness for the new name and branding within a very condensed timeframe, and with limited budget available to do so.

Reese Witherspoon made an appearance at the Los Cabos International Film Festival as her film Wild made its Mexican debut. She is pictured here at a press conference held prior to the film screening on opening night of the festival.

An unforeseen challenge came crashing down on the campaign effort when the Category 3 Hurricane Odile hit Los Cabos less than two months before the Festival start date, effectively shutting down the destination for several weeks, and leaving in its wake significant damage, less than half of normally available hotel inventory, and budget dollars reallocated toward repairing the damages. For several weeks following, we were unsure if we could even execute the Festival at all.

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Strategy:

In the weeks following Hurricane Odile, Festival organizers planned a site visit to Los Cabos at the earliest opportunity and, in early October, just about a month shy of the Festival, determined that the show would go on in mid-November as planned. At that point, our team counseled our Festival clients not only to talk about the cultural and lifestyle components of the event, but to re-position this third edition of the Festival as what it unexpectedly had become: the triumphant “re-opening” of the destination of Cabo.

Festival Director, Alonso Aguilar-Castillo and esteemed writer, Mario Mercado discussing film and the upcoming festival over lunch in New York City during a pre-festival media tour.

Because of the unplanned campaign pause brought by Odile, a New York City media tour we had been planning for Festival Director Alonso Aguilar-Castillo was put on hold. And because of hurricane damages leaving significant blows to Cabo’s hotels and businesses, there was a mad dash to secure adequate lodging, amenities and activities for our planned Festival group press trip of 10 U.S. media from the tourism and lifestyle sectors. Because the trip status was unknown for several critical weeks during the campaign, our team had to hold media interest and provide nearly daily updates on progress with the Festival and destination at large. In the end, we planned and executed a packed media tour in New York with Festival Director Alonso Aguilar-Castillo just two and a half weeks before the Festival kick-off, and successfully secured the attendance of 10 target media to attend the Festival.

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The Captive staring Rosario Dawson made its Mexican debut at the Los Cabos International FIlm Festival. Rosario can be seen here walking the red carpet on the festival's closing night.

Results:

The campaign coverage included articles in Elite Traveler, Luxury Travel Magazine, Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Pursuitist, Travel + Leisure Carry On Blog, KCBS, Complex.com among others. In all, CIIC’s Los Cabos International Film Festival 6-month PR campaign garnered 28 secured print/online/broadcast clips, for a total of 13,611,021 media impressions and over $144,500 in advertising value to date. The festival itself had 17,424 attendees and 686 professionals registered from 32 countries. There were 100 screenings of 49 films and 39 premiers. There were 63 industry activities and 234 meetings in the Mexico – USA – Canada Co-production forum. The awards presented during the festival totaled $335,850 USD. There were 78 sponsors, 203 volunteers and 1,565 students.

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The press group posing on the red carpet excited for a screening of Boyhood under the stars at the Los Cabos Cultural Pavilion.