• Transform magazine
  • October 15, 2019


California dreamin' drives place brand transformation

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The unique history of California has always inspired dreamers. There are sub-genres of literature and film dedicated to the California dream and to the dream of what California could be. In reality, the dreams that get portrayed most often in the media and in entertainment are those related to fame, fortune and all that comes with it. But, for most Californians, it’s a more practical dream of living well, engaging with nature and achieving their ambitions.

To tap into this somewhat hidden character, tourism board Visit California worked with the Discovery Channel on a series of short films and a documentary series highlighting California’s dreamers and the innovations driving them forward. In doing so, they also transform the place brand of California.

The films simultaneously tap into the stereotypes associated with California – surfer dudes and hippies – while also sublimating them. One film documents the job of a Mars architect who dreams up the structures that may one day dot the Red Planet. The film represents the vast economy driven by space exploration that exists across southern California. It’s an aspect of the state not often represented as part of the place brand.

However, the films also take those stereotypical notions of what California is and twist them. The films document a sustainability-driven chef and a company that actually grows surfboards from mushrooms. By adding to these preexisting ideas about California’s place brand, the campaign also serves to mature them. It proves California dreams not only of kale salads, but of a world of more sustainable restaurants and industries.

Patrick Maitrot, VP of ad sales for southern Europe, Switzerland and Latin America at the Discovery Channel, says, “We are thrilled to have partnered with Visit California to bring ‘California Dreamers’ to audiences around the world. The high-quality films tell the stories of some truly remarkable pioneers and reflect Discovery Channel’s dedication to creating content that celebrates the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement.”

The films are available online and will be shown across the Discovery Channel’s networks in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.