experiences > things

A paradox of destination marketing is that while each destination is unique in its own way, the materials and messages people use for different destinations are often indistinguishable from one another.

In promoting Bellingham Whatcom County, we wanted to subtly rethink destination marketing to create work that departed from these expectations.

We started by making the audience the subject of the messaging – specifically the audience’s internal experience. This shift of focus allowed us talk more about experiences and less about activities and things. This subtly changed our approach to copy, adding an aspirational element to the message.


Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism wanted an open ended concept – knowing that the diversity of experiences Whatcom County offers is this destination’s greatest strength.



The resulting campaign – “BE in Bellingham” – is simple and adaptable. The first part of it is tailored to the audience: “BE bold” for promoting racing events, “BE in awe” for promoting opportunities to experience nature, “BE indulged,” to promote food. The second part “BE in Bellingham” connects the different messages together. Other assets and messages worked alongside this concept, creating a unified presence that worked for brochures, print collateral, signage, print ads, and more. More examples of the campaign can be seen here.

Eric Shew is a graphic designer and front end developer living in Bellingham, Washington.

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115 West Magnolia, Suite 210
Bellingham, WA 98225

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