California Road Trip Republic: Mering for Visit California

by Dasha Ovsyannikova


Kerry Krasts
Creative Director Mering

Tell us about your role in the creation of this work. 

I was Creative Director, and alongside the rest of the MeringCarson team oversaw all creative elements of this global campaign for Visit California from start to finish. As a company with deep roots in California that is all about moving people, both physically and emotionally, we're proud to have created this content that prompts curiosity and inspires personal journeys.



Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about? 

The campaign will launch in the U.S. on September 16 with a 45-second online TV spot entitled “Born to Be Wild,” a spoken-word edition of the enduring Steppenwolf song of the same name. Companion 6-second spots, out-of-home, and cross-channel digital activations will echo the message that California is ultimate road trip destination, while establishing a set of governing principles that bring to life the spirit of the California Road Trip Republic. 

Starting in late 2019, the campaign will expand globally into key markets United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Canada and China. Strategic content partnerships with TripAdvisor and Pinterest will provide further support to the road trips message, and provide a robust experiential layer to fully immerse prospective travelers in the California road trip experience. 


Tell us about the details of the creative brief, what did it ask? 

True story, the very first cross-country road trip by auto actually started in California. Ever since, California has been the home to countless transformative road trip journeys –in movies, literature and now, on Instagram. It was our charge to keep the mystique and the desire for the California road trip alive and well, and position California as the ultimate road trip destination for those dreamers, seekers and adventurers who long for the freedom of the open road.



Which insight led to the creation of this piece of work? 

California has 400,000 miles of roadways and 840 miles of coastline. The Golden State offers a multitude of options for intrepid explorers looking to travel on their own terms, while discovering historic landmarks and monuments, hidden gems and hot spots along the way. It's this concept that served as the foundation for the new California Road Trip Republic campaign. We want to inspire bold adventurers from around the world to hop into the driver’s seat and take the trip of a lifetime.


Can you share with us any alternative ideas (if any) for this campaign? Why was this idea chosen? 

We had other ideas, UGC-oriented ideas of course. But everyone is doing UGC mash-up spots these days. We knew pretty quickly that this was the way we wanted to go. Music is so integral to a road trip, so to be able to take an iconic, freedom-loving song and do something a little unexpected with it was exciting to us, and our client.


What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during development. 

The miles! You shoot a road trip, you take a road trip. So, the team literally drove 4,100 miles together to make that 45-seconds happen. You add light studies, travel times, shoot days, talent travel etc…the production logistics are pretty mind boggling. Luckily we have a killer Executive Producer who knows how to make it happen.



What did you enjoy most about seeing this campaign through? Did you learn anything new from the experience? 

This was a different kind of spot for this client, which was great. More organic, more textural, more in the moment. Seeing how the lines worked together, but still felt like separate moments, playing with how to reveal the song in the edit – that was all fun, creatively. And the collaboration between Mophonics’ composers and Cut+Run editorial was awesome. More personally, I got to see parts of the state I’ve never seen before, which is hard these days. And it really drove hom (no pun intended) how much there is left to discover here. Oh, and after 4,100 miles of drive time we finally established the definitive red licorice brand hierarchy. It’s Australian Soft, Twizzler, Red Vines.


Where do you see this campaign going in the future? 

Our desire is to give people really visceral, interactive experiences around California road trips. We also want to inspire people to get off the beaten path and encourage exploration. Road trips is the perfect way to do this, because most of these places don’t have nearby airports. You have to be willing to get out there to discover places like Mendocino, Shaver Lake and the Red Wood Tree you can drive through. But the rewards are great.