Scotland: More Than You Thought
Brand Scotland approached BBC StoryWorks with a vision to build Scotland’s reputation as a global player on the world stage. In particular, Brand Scotland wanted to position Scotland as a highly desirable place to live, work, study, visit and do business.
The challenge was to reinforce and showcase Scotland’s values and demonstrate the opportunities available across the whole of the country, to people across the world, whether they were a business, a student, a traveller or just someone looking for a new life adventure.
Brand Scotland sought to welcome the world to Scotland and to the depth and breadth of opportunities that it has to offer, shifting international perceptions so that target audiences would consider Scotland as a destination for their future.
The key was to present an authentic portrayal of Scotland through imagery that resonates with audience perceptions, while giving it a modern twist. Likewise it was crucial not to ignore the weather! Presenting Scotland’s weather conditions in an authentic light would showcase the opportunity for refreshing, active and adventurous lifestyles.
Another central challenge and goal of this project was how best to shine a light on Scotland’s greatest asset – its people – and tell their real human stories to an international audience. As a result, each narrative would need to embody the sustainable, renewable and diverse opportunities Scotland has to offer.
Showcase Scotland as highly desirable place to live, work, study, visit and do business
Challenge preconceptions of Scotland through human-led storytelling
Drive awareness of Scotland’s leading sustainability and diversity credentials
Deliver a cohesive content campaign that aligns with audience interests
The Content Solution
The Scotland: More Than You Thought campaign approach challenged the misconceptions surrounding Scotland through authentic, human-led storytelling, wry humour and warmth.
A series of four light-hearted, witty and beautifully shot short films explore the essence of modern Scotland through the prism of real human stories, capturing the spirit of Scottish adventure, music, food and business in the process. These four films reinforce the overarching message of Scotland as a dynamic, fair and inclusive place to live, work and visit, working in harmony to create a vibrant portrayal of life and culture in 21st century Scotland.
BBC StoryWorks’ expert team of storytellers wove the films together into an overarching series that creates a visual tapestry of Scotland as a modern and progressive nation built on the dynamism, creativity and warmth of its people.
Across serene and iconic landscapes, there lies community, creative energy and muddy, adrenaline-fuelled adventure. Cuisine inspired by nature and sustainability. Businesses that thrive beyond the booming finance sector. And a culture that is constantly evolving, with new voices celebrating the many expressions of what it means to be Scottish.
A variety of characters from rural and urban locations portray the rich diversity of Scotland across the four films. Their voices and the passion, wit, innovation and creativity of this “small but mighty” nation shine throughout.
Along the way, the film series highlights the social responsibility that the contributors feel for Scotland’s environment. This brings sustainability into sharp focus, evoking the collective commitment felt as a community to the fight against the climate crisis and protecting the nation’s biodiversity.
In the making of these films, the amount of amazing interviewee footage captured on location led BBC StoryWorks to offer extra video assets as added value, with four videos and supporting promotional content created instead of the originally planned three, and an extra social cut profiling the characters from the whole series due to its strength. This not only bolstered the campaign value for the client, however is also testament to the rich stories within Scotland waiting to be told.
Amid the dramatic skylines of the Scottish Highlands and the stunning gothic cityscapes, this film series showcases Scotland as a nation not only of castles, lochs and mountains, but as an open community built upon kindness and respect.
The Media/Content Amplification Solution
The campaign was hosted on a bespoke digital hub on BBC.com and harnessed the BBC’s vast reach in the target cities (San Francisco, New York, Paris, Berlin, and London). By utilising high impact display creatives across BBC.com through contextual and audience targeting, we were able to accelerate traffic to the content pages and ensure it resonated with key audiences.
By overlaying BBC 1st party data using our DMP, Permutive, we ensured qualified audiences were served bespoke traffic drivers in environments where they would be predisposed to be receptive to specific aspects of the broader campaign’s messaging. This allowed content to reach a diverse range of audiences interested in either Scottish or thematically relevant content and strategically leveraged the BBC’s highly educated and widely informed audiences.
The media and amplification strategy for the Scotland: More Than You Thought campaign also revolved around intense promotional phases that were timed to coincide with key events in the Scottish cultural calendar.
By planning digital content takeovers around tentpole moments celebrating Scottish culture, such as Burns Night and in the run up to Tartan Week in the US, campaign performance accelerated, driving exceptionally strong results and generating wider buzz.
In addition, in order to reach UK audiences (as BBC.com/storyworks is not accessible in the UK due to license fee regulations) we delivered significant activity across BBC Studios YouTube channels and across the Met Office to further maximise reach. Aligning with the Met Office’s weather content also helped Brand Scotland to achieve one of their key objectives: ‘presenting Scotland’s weather conditions in an authentic light, showcasing the opportunity for refreshing, active and adventurous lifestyles’.
A comprehensive social media campaign amplified the branded content film series across Facebook and Twitter. Alongside tailoring short clips of the films for maximum social effectiveness, BBC StoryWorks created multiple assets, optimised to the different social platforms, to drive engagement and showcase the stunning content.
The final element of the campaign’s amplification strategy was a widespread TV advertising campaign across BBC World News. This positioned the 30” hero asset around Business, Travel and Cultural programming, with spots also airing after The Travel Show: Burns Night special. With BBC World News reaching 28% of Business Decision Makers in the US and 22% in Europe, this TV component therefore gave Brand Scotland the opportunity to increase their reach to C-Suites and Business Leaders across their target markets.
Over the course of Scotland: More Than You Thought campaign, the content achieved over 621k video views across all platforms and 83k on-site branded content article views. We also witnessed a significant 141% increase in recommendation and 76% increase in consideration towards Scotland, alongside an uplift in digital traffic.
Engagement with the branded content was also particularly strong, with campaign media regularly outperforming BBC benchmarks and each of the article pages amassing over at least 18k views, and our audiences displayed a 124% increase in positivity towards Scotland as a result.
The reaction from the client, Brand Scotland, was nothing short of rapturous, with feedback that some reviewers had been moved to tears by the videos and keen interest from government ministers.
Sam Crawford, Senior Marketing Manager, Brand Scotland Marketing: “It’s incredible work and has nailed the brief. Huge well done again to the entire team working on this. It’s so full of emotion and really beautiful storytelling. One colleague had tears, another said they had chills…”
Claire Prentice, Head of Marketing, Brand Scotland: “They quite magically capture the essence of Scotland’s brand so beautifully.”
Kim Wallace, Head of Digital, Brand Scotland: “Everyone that sees the films is blown away by them.”
Due to the brilliant performance of this campaign, the BBC is already in conversations about future extensions to the project for 2023.
The BBC was proud to be the media partner chosen to tell these incredible stories and to harness the trust earned with our global audiences to bring these stories to the world. The campaign exceeded the client’s objectives and has helped to power Scotland’s future as a vibrant and multifaceted nation.
Total Page Views on BBC.com – 83.9k
Total Views on Social Channels – 2.8m
Average CTR – 0.12%
Highest CTR – 4.10%
Average VCR – 76%