Over the last two years, we’ve been proud to work with the Fairmont brand and their iconic Hotel Vancouver, enjoying all the content we’ve been creating for them. One recent project that caught their guests’ eyes was our week-long Halloween campaign for the “Lady in Red”. If you’re not familiar with the Hotel Vancouver, you can get acquainted with a 77-second history lesson we created for them:
The Lady in Red Campaign
The legend is that the Hotel Vancouver is enchanted by The Lady in Red, a friendly ghost of a socialite who was a regular at the hotel in the 1940s, before sadly passing away in a car crash. There have been many sightings over the years and is a story known by many Vancouverites and Fairmont guests.
We wanted to revisit this classic story using a modern form of storytelling. Through a photo and video shoot, we created a selection of mixed-media, including social videos, photos and cinemagraphs. Over one week, it was shared through Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories, using both organic and paid promotion.
Sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram did well on a low ad spend, but thanks to the campaign being unique, timely and localized, many people were excited to comment or share their own Lady in Red story. We also leveraged it with a contest to win a one-night stay, asking followers to share their story about The Lady in Red and Hotel Vancouver.
Cinemagraphs – Unique Marketing and Creative Advantages
Cinemagraphs are a combination of video and photographs, used to focus on a specific element through motion, while the rest of the image stays still. This can be created through video or photography and can be formatted as either a looping video or GIF.
Our team identified that in this case, cinemagraphs were the most effective form of media to communicate our campaign message because of the advantages it offers over photography and video.
Cinemagraph Cost Advantages
- More production than a photo, but much less than a short video
- Facebook/Instagram are pushing native video hard, offering much better ad rates for video than photo
- Video ads usually have a better click-through-rate than photo
Cinemagraph Platform Advantages
- No audio or subtitles needed (Up to 85% of videos are watched without sound, mainly due to mobile viewers)
- Perfect FB/Instagram’s autoplay/autoloop feature
- Through video or GIF format, they can be used in social media posts, banner advertising, email marketing and web page design
Cinemagraph Engagement Advantages
- More engagement on average than a still image, but less commitment than watching a short video
- Grabs attention subtly without being intrusive
- Fits the popularity of looping video clips, GIFs and boomerangs on social media
- Still rarely seen on social media, making them stand out from other posts/ads
Cinemagraph Storytelling Advantages
Cinemagraphs truly shine when matched with a delicate balance of storytelling and technical execution. They’re often used for an elegant or magical result, with subtlety being key. The single focus point in a cinemagraph evokes a feeling that a still image cannot produce.
Our lead photographer Alaina shared why she used cinemagraphs for this campaign:
“I knew right away The Lady in Red was perfect for cinemagraphs. A mysterious and glamorous story set in Vancouver’s “Castle in the City” during Halloween. A beautiful ghost in a scarlet dress, folklore people want to believe in.”
“With cinemagraphs being great for a spooky effect, I wanted this to come through in our examples, as well as mirror the stories of the guests over the years. Her vision just in the corner of your eye, her presence only a fleeting moment. Her face never fully revealed, never acknowledging the guests.”
“I had her gazing out a window, maybe waiting for her friends or husband to arrive at the party, with only the curtains lightly moving in the wind. She also appeared in the lobby, never turning to reveal herself to the guest lucky (or unlucky) enough to find her. The Lady in Red frozen in time, while regular hotel activity goes on through a veiled window. My favourite one highlights the iconic brass elevator doors, with us only catching her reflection in them as she strolls by.” – Alaina, Lead Photographer
Cinemagraph Marketing in the Mix
This short campaign has the perfect mix of elements and timing. A unique story that was due to be retold in modern times through modern methods. Cinemagraphs are not just used for their novelty in this case, but for their strengths in telling this specific story. Unlike many seasonal promotions, this was authentic to Halloween in both message and to the Hotel Vancouver brand. Luxurious and historic, yet entertaining and community-focused.