LONDON & PARTNERS
OFFICIAL GUEST OF HONOUR
As the official promotional organisation for London, we work to strengthen London’s lead as the best big city in the world. With the capital enjoying an ever-increasing rise in visitor numbers, our challenge is to stay on top, to continue to capture the imagination of the world, and turn inspiration into visits.
The primary objective of London & Partners’ annual consumer campaign is to convince visitors to come to London today, while strengthening London’s reputation so that more visitors will choose London tomorrow.
Whilst the city is enjoying a tourism boom, it is important to continue connecting with potential visitors across the globe, inspiring them to book a trip to the capital through innovative campaigns.
The Guest of Honour campaign was designed to showcase the very best London has to offer and was created with the goal of engaging new audiences as well as maintaining the interest and excitement of our already connected audience to follow the campaign throughout its lifetime. We played upon visitor’s appreciation of London’s history and heritage to develop a campaign which was innovative and which L&P were uniquely positioned to deliver.
London’s Official Guest of Honour is an example of a fully integrated tourism campaign, executed across multiple platforms that united the capital. We created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one person to experience London through extraordinary moments to be shared through paid, owned and earned media as well as via a series of short documentaries featured on VisitLondon.com.
The experiences had to be truly exceptional and excite international media and our global audience. We worked with 20+ partners and 9 celebrities to create a unique itinerary: a trip comprised of 30+ money-can’t-buy moments. Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Professor Stephen Hawking, Downton actor Jim Carter, ballerina Darcey Bussell amongst other well-known celebrities with a passion for London gave up their time to show the Guest of Honour one of their favourite places.
The competition to become London’s Official Guest of Honour was open to entries across London’s most important markets – US, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.
Data shows that video is key in influencing destination decision. Indeed, two out of three US consumers watch travel-related videos when thinking about taking a trip. Harnessing its effectiveness, we placed video at the creative heart of the campaign, supported by a multimillion media spend at three key stages.
• A high-impact launch marked the start of the search for the Guest of Honour across all Yahoo channels, including display, native advertising, retargeting and accompanying editorial pieces. This was combined with a global PR effort. We invited individuals across our 7 most important markets to enter this unique competition via a promotional video which was viewed 6.5m times and led to 10,000 entries from which one winner was chosen.
• In Phase 2, the Guest of Honour’s visit was captured live on social media, including Tumblr content creation. A high-impact outdoor campaign ran in New York, alongside radio campaigns in USA and Spain. Activity on media continued through display, retargeting, pre-rolls, native ads and PR.
• Phase 3 saw the Guest of Honour’s experiences curated and edited into high quality videos, published on visitlondon.com and shared globally through external media buy, social media and email. Prospective visitors were also encouraged to be a guest of the city by registering to win their own VIP trip to London.
With a global audience of 300 million and 1.2 billion opportunities to see, the Guest of Honour campaign caught the attention of the world and was London & Partners’ most successful campaign to date.
The marketing and media efforts led to 27m+ views of the films, 2.4m visits to VisitLondon.com, and an engaged audience driving 749,000 applications to win their own trip to London.
The campaign’s PR activity generated media coverage worth £5.6M across 42 countries. In the UK, the campaign reached an astonishing 66% of adults. A Gorkana campaign report found all analysed coverage was favourable in tone – 55% strongly so.
Richard Quest, CNN’s foremost anchor, praised the campaign as ‘a great story’. France 2 recognised it as ‘exceptional, we have never seen a competition like this anywhere in the world’. Industry leaders from The Coca-Cola Company said it was ‘perfect brand journalism’ while the leading marketing outlet ‘The
Drum’ observed that it ‘had raised the marketing bar’.
As London’s most legendary tourism campaign yet, it delivered an estimated £16m of value to London’s economy.