Best practice from Space Sport & Entertainment.
Visit Devon (formerly known as Destination Devon) began trading in April 2008 as the official tourism organisation for Devon. Its remit is to strengthen Devon’s status as the primary UK destination for business and leisure tourism.
Visit Devon acts as the voice of tourism for Devon and seeks to add value and enhance the work and activities undertaken by Area Tourism Partnerships across Devon. Its board of directors are committed to growing the tourism sector sustainably, increasing the skills within the industry and raising the quality of the visitor experience.
Leading integrated marketing agency Space won a competitive pitch against three other agencies to devise a campaign to increase the number of visitors to Devon, and to position the county as a year round quality destination for UK holidaymakers.
The target audience looks for a greater degree of exclusivity – they don’t want to follow the crowds. They choose experiences that offer greater privacy, bragging rights, novelty, inside knowledge, one-off experiences and special service - the sort of experiences you might not find in your average Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. The kind of things that you might need a Devonian to share with you
Space wanted the target audience to see the sorts of things that they would see if they were really ‘into Devon’ and knew Devonians would be proud to share those secrets with others, so they too could get ‘into Devon’. Who better than real Devonians to communicate the beauty and varied activities available to holidaymakers in the county than those who enjoy living there?
Therefore, Space created a campaign called Lovemydevon to embrace the warm, personal and local spirit of the Devonians at the heart of the campaign. Lovemydevon captured the fact there are so many individual stories about the county to tell the rest of the UK, and translated into a national ‘call to action’.
With an overall budget of £80,000, Space had to find an innovative way to reach the target audience – advertising wasn’t going do it, sales promotion wouldn’t have had the necessary immediacy, online would have been a possibility but the message and targeting would have needed to be perfect.
Space launched the Lovemydevon competition in November 2008 to source the most passionate people in Devon to represent the county as ambassadors for tourism.
One competition, three X-factor style auditions, three days and three locations (to ensure complete geographic coverage of the England’s 3rd largest county) searching for three Devonians to promote Devon to the nation.
They also had the chance to win £10,000 for the finalist who generated the most non-paid for coverage of the county by developing publicity/promotional activity linked to their ‘love’ for the county and the different ways in which they could show this off.
Call for entries were communicated via Space designed press ads in the regional and local Devon newspapers (via a Visit Devon negotiated partnership with the SW Media Group), as well as ads in lifestyle magazines, posters, outdoor, ambient opportunities, and on visitdevon.co.uk.
Space also worked with Fiona Reece PR who undertook PR activity for the Lovemydevon campaign with 31 pieces of regional and national press and broadcast coverage generated to communicate the campaign and forthcoming auditions.
Auditionees were invited to demonstrate their passion, creativity and knowledge of Devon to inspire the judges and demonstrate why they should be picked for the job. The judging panel included representatives from Visit Devon, Space, the local media and a celebrity panelist, the Exeter born Michael Caines MBE, (one of the UK’s most acclaimed chefs).
The three finalists selected to promote Devon were two individuals - Anne Tattersall and Helen Blackman; and a team of three – Barney Sutton, Dick Smith and Jona Ahearn. They focused on creating PR stunts around Devon and beyond, devising competitions and web based – YouTube videos, video dairies, blogs - to promote the county throughout January 2009.
The campaign achieved an exceptional £283,371 of media value worth 3.5 times the total campaign budget of £80,000 required to communicate/deliver the competition via advertising, media partnerships, PR and web development.
£230,000 of the total media coverage was generated by the finalists themselves looking to be crowned Ambassador for Devon, and win the £10,000 in prize money. In February the judges selected Ann Tattersall as the winner.
Key achievements of all the finalists:
- Visits to 33 towns and cities in and outside Devon promoting the county
- Ran 38 competitions with Devon based prizes.
- Secured coverage of their campaign/wonders of Devon in over 73 publications in the regional and national press
- Coverage on 9 regional radio stations
- Posted 35 videos online (YouTube, video diaries) promoting the county and ran blogs on their campaigns achieving nearly 9,000 hits to date
- Involved Devon based celebrities, including actors Rik Mayall, Todd Carty and Joss Ackland, and chefs John Burton Race and Michael Caines in their activities to promote the county
- Gained strong publicity for the county by breaking the world record for making the world’s largest scone.
As a campaign it created a truly cosmopolitan media spread and tremendous value that simply would not have been possible through a traditional approach.
It was a campaign that marked Visit Devon as a truly innovative organisation within the destination category and the industry.
“The highly creative Lovemydevon campaign devised by Space really was a unique approach for us in promoting Devon as a year round quality visitor destination," said Chief Executive at Visit Devon, Nicola Poultney.
"We found some amazingly passionate and talented Devonians all very keen to promote this great county of ours to the wider world. In the end our three finalists achieved some outstanding results across the media mix. In fact, their success exceeded our expectations."
She added, “This campaign proved that a brand message delivered by its most loyal consumers is often more compelling than a brand simply talking at its audience. In terms of media spend the campaign delivered over 3.5 times the value of our original budget.
"This is an exceptional return on investment from a campaign that we are sure will persuade many more UK holidaymakers to consider this great county of ours as a must visit destination, particularly at a time when people are thinking twice about whether to holiday abroad.”
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