Taking a page from the time-honored tradition of making your holiday wish list from a toy catalog.

"Tennessee Playcation" merges the magic of toys with the joy of travel – offering families an innovative way to explore the state. Discover how we turned travel dreams into playful reality and sparked a new wave of family adventures in Tennessee.

TN Tourism Playcation Final Case
More than ever, we know parents want to gift their kids memorable experiences and yet they still want something to unwrap.

Mark Ezell

Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Tennessee has struggled to compete with other United States destinations for family travelers. With kids being the key influencers in vacation destinations, the state faced the challenge of making itself an appealing choice for families.

Recognizing that children's imaginations are sparked by play, we drew inspiration from the world of toys. The idea was to create a connection between travel and playtime, making Tennessee's attractions come alive in a way that would capture the hearts and minds of kids and their families.

"Tennessee Playcation" is a unique toy catalog featuring 39 custom-made toys modeled after the state's top attractions, from Dollywood in Pigeon Forge to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Each toy was designed to transform into a real-life vacation experience. To create this magical world, we tested various artistic directions with children to ensure maximum excitement and engagement.

The final product was a blend of photography, free-hand drawings, and digital illustrations that brought each attraction to life in a fantastical toy setting. Families could order the free printed catalog online, which not only showcased the toys but also included pages of fun activities to keep kids entertained on the road.

By turning travel into toys, we successfully captured the attention and imagination of children, leading them to ask their parents for a vacation in Tennessee. The campaign generated an impressive $406.8 million in earned media, sold 11,190 toys, resulted in 30,169 trips booked – and positioned Tennessee as a top destination of choice for family travel.

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