NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

Contact: Laurie McConnell
Idaho Tourism

Idaho Tourism Receives National Award at Annual ESTO Conference

BOISE, Idaho (August 30, 2021) — Idaho Tourism received high praise at the annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference held earlier this month by winning the National Council of State Tourism Directors Mercury Award for its “Cool Times, Warm Memories” digital campaign.

The campaign was recognized for connecting authentic stories in a fun and engaging way that showcased personal insights from welcoming Idahoans, while helping visitors navigate Idaho’s abundant outdoor adventure opportunities during a unique winter season.

Launched in November 2020, amid uncertainty surrounding travel during COVID-19, the digital campaign focused on creating an emotional connection with prospective Idaho travelers by sharing real winter stories from four Idaho residents paired with colorful and dynamic animation.

“We sought to strike a balance between safe outdoor travel during the pandemic and keeping Idaho top of mind for visitors,” said Diane Norton, Idaho Tourism manager. “This campaign achieved its objectives of informing travelers about Idaho’s many winter activities while also inviting them to visit the Gem State at a traditionally less busy time. It also demonstrates our overall goal to distribute visitation throughout the year, especially during winter and shoulder seasons, and we’re proud those efforts are being recognized.”

The Mercury Awards, which recognize excellence in destination marketing at the state level, are selected by a panel of judges comprised of business leaders representing marketing, creative, public relations, social strategy and hospitality companies.

“To receive this award from the U.S. Travel Association is a great honor,” said Idaho Commerce Director Tom Kealey. “We’re extremely proud of the Idaho Tourism team for their ability to successfully pivot, to change messaging and strategy, all while working under the shadow of COVID-19. Our team and the many partners and professionals that work alongside them continue to play primary roles in the success of Idaho’s tourism industry, and they are to be commended.”

Idaho Tourism’s advertising agency of record, Madden Media, pitched the concept for the campaign and managed its production and multichannel rollout.

ESTO is organized by the U.S. Travel Association and focuses on providing educational and networking opportunities for travel marketing professionals across the country. The awards are held annually on the last night of the conference. See the full list of 2021 Mercury Award winners here.

About Idaho Tourism:
Idaho Tourism (Visit Idaho) serves to inspire travelers to visit and experience Idaho’s diverse, unique beauty, western culture and history and outdoor adventure opportunities through engaging, helpful tips, information and resources. Tourism is Idaho’s third largest Industry and Idaho Tourism is committed to growing Idaho’s economy through targeted, impactful promotions. Go to to plan your vacation.


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