Mighty Five campaign sparks Utah tourism

Retouching & Compositing: Brian York | www.brnyrk.com
Source: Matthew Morgan

Starting as a campaign by the Utah Office of Tourism to attract tourists to Utah’s five national parks, the Mighty Five has become a website filled with information on how to get an adventure started. 

Utah Office of Tourism associate director Dave Williams said the office has a three-seasons campaign, which promotes activities in Utah according to the season.

“In the winter we promote skiing, and we will promote the greatest skiing on earth and the accessibility of our resorts to the airport in Salt Lake,” Williams said. “In summer we have been promoting all kinds of stuff, and we chose our national parks.”

According to Williams, the previous ads were successful. However, they didn’t set Utah apart from other states. Utah has five national parks. Only two other states — Alaska and California — top that number, with eight each. Therefore, the Utah Office of Tourism set out to find an ad campaign that would be emotionally charging and get people excited to come to Utah.

“I personally have only been to Zion’s (of the five national parks),” said Ben Nelson, a Weber State University zoology major. “. . . I really enjoyed it. It is very warm, very sandy, good environment, makes me happy. The more people that come into the state parks in Utah, the more people that will be visiting Utah in general. That would definitely bring revenue back into Ogden.”

The Mighty Five’s hook is to catch people’s interest when they plan their vacations, making sure to elaborate on the variety the five national parks provide.

Graphic by Autumn Mariano

There are nine tourist destinations in Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky, White Rim Road, Needles, Maze, Orange Cliffs Unit, Horseshoe Canyon, Green River and Cataract Canyon. Many tourists only visit one per trip.

Capitol Reef National Park is located in south-central Utah and is filled with canyons, domes, bridges and cliffs. 

Arches National Park has more than 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of massive fins and giant balanced rocks for tourists to see.

Bryce Canyon National Park offers a variety of different activities, such as horseback rides, guided moonlight hikes and stargazing. For tourists who prefer to see the canyon by car, there is an option to take a virtual auto tour.

Zion National Park gives tourists the opportunity to go on backpack tours, ride bikes on the Pa’rus Trail, camp at one of the three campgrounds, or bird-watch up to 207 different species of birds that reside at Zion.

Dead Horse Point State Park_overlooking Canyonlands National Park_Matt Morgan
(Source: Matthew Morgan) Dead Horse Point State Park overlooks Canyonlands National Park.
Bryce Canyon National Park_istock
(Source: Matthew Morgan) Visitors explore a canyon at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Ben Dodds, the marketing coordinator for the Utah Office of Tourism, said the Mighty Five campaign has been especially successful compared to the ads that have come before. He said the office has received feedback from tourists around the country, and that these ads have generated awareness of what Utah has to offer.

“This marketing campaign has been super successful and really effective,” Dodds said. “I talk to people about tourism all the time, and it is amazing how this particular ad campaign sticks in people’s heads.”

WSU sophomore Sam Stout said he believes that when movies are filmed in Utah, they show the variety of the state and what the national parks offer.

“I feel like . . . one of the first things people think of when they think of Utah is their national parks,” Stout said. “I feel like it takes away stereotypes of the state and promotes people to come here.”

The ad campaign has been going on for about a year, both online and on TV. The TV ad is a video of all the Utah national parks with a voiceover of a family. The purpose of the family voice is to connect with families who are not aware of the opportunities available in Utah, hopefully inspiring them to travel to Utah.

“The hope is that, as the Mighty Five sparks their interest in Utah, then they will learn about other parts of the state to visit as well. There are a lot of cool things to do in Utah,” Williams said. “There is a lot of great outdoor recreation just minutes from where you are at.”