Positioning Lake Mille Lacs – Evolving an identity

Much like the rest of the region, when we started working with the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council, all we knew of Lake Mille Lacs was that it was THE place to fish for walleye. It was also the place we drove through on Highway 169 to get to and from the Twin Cities. Once we turned off the highway and met the towns of Wahkon, Isle, and Malmo, however, the idea for the “Do the Lake” campaign was formed — not only in terms of the different attractions and activities there are to do, but in terms of actually driving around the entire lake. It’s quite the trip!


As we spent more time in the area, getting to know the community and experiencing all there was to do around the lake, we were on a mission to let the world know there is more to Lake Mille Lacs than Highway 169 and the coveted walleye. Fast forward two years and the region finds itself without the ability to position walleye fishing as the main tourism attraction. The “Do the Lake” campaign is suddenly more important than ever before. “It’s certainly a challenge to position a region without its amazing and powerful lead actor, but thanks to the hard work of the Mille Lacs Tourism Council, the many businesses and residents around the lake, and Explore Minnesota we have the ability to promote the total package and total experience Lake Mille Lacs has to offer the world,” said Aaron Hautala, creative director.

Our latest approach — a 30-second video highlighting the many ways to “Do the Lake” — was unleashed just as the walleye crisis was unfolding, and it couldn’t have turned out better. “It’s really fun being part of these videos, watching the RedHouse creative team at work,” said Tina Chapman, executive director of the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council. “This is my favorite out of all the videos we’ve done because of the story it tells.”

It took four days of shooting, in which we were blessed with perfect weather and even better timing when it came to coordinating the shots. It serves as an itinerary of sorts, from sun-up to sun-down, and showcases all of the people we’ve met, and the experiences we’ve encountered around the North, South, East, and West coasts of Lake Mille Lacs. “I love this video,” Tina said. “It makes me cry every time I watch it because of the sense of community it creates. I’ve watched most of those kids (in the video) grow up around the lake.”

This latest addition to our “Do the Lake” campaign features the evolved identity and full promise of what we like to call “the big lake in the heart of state.” It represents the ability to tell the full story of Lake Mille Lacs, not only as a world-class fishery, but as a world-class outdoor recreation destination both on, and off the water.
What are you waiting for? Get up here and #DoTheLake.

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