The story of our GREAT journey is one of a £100 million public/private tactical marketing campaign and a multi-million pound image campaign promoting Britain through the themes of culture, heritage, sport, music, countryside, food and shopping.
The four-year initiative to attract visitors to the UK, which has run since 2011, has included a global movie tie-in around the James Bond film Skyfall, a takeover of Bloomingdales in New York, and a global TV campaign.
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GREAT Britain you’re invited
In the run up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, we ran a series of campaigns in which celebrities offered up their personal invitations to Britain. Our first global TV campaign in ten years featured adverts and films from celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Jamie Oliver and Lennox Lewis, which were then shown around the world on TV and digital channels.
In addition, we developed invitations from industry, starting with a series of stunts in ten cities around the world, using 3D artwork to highlight special offers from major commercial partners such as British Airways, DFDS Seaways, P&O Ferries, easyJet, American Express, Virgin and Yahoo!
Pre-Games image campaign
Wrapping a New York subway train in the Union Flag. Filling Grand Central Station with GREAT Britain images. Inundating Delhi with 100 GREAT branded taxis. It was all part of the first phase of our tourism awareness campaign, which ran across 14 cities in nine countries, in early 2012.
We partnered with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to launch events around the world featuring celebrities and royalty including Prince Harry and Victoria Beckham, and our global TV advert was shown to millions in cinemas across France, India, Brazil and Germany.
During the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games
We pulled out all the stops for the biggest British event in many years. Our activities in the run up to the London Olympics included welcoming visitors to seven UK airports with GREAT Britain images, branding 15 visa application centres across the world with GREAT images, and embedding GREAT branding in Olympic venues.
During the Games, we organised 14 GREAT Britain themed events, we ran a Britain information desk in the London Media Centre, and had a presence in the Olympic park media village. We ran media tours across Britain for 500 overseas media, and during the Opening Ceremony, we engaged over 5 million social media users on Facebook and Weibo.
We created a Best of Britain app in partnership with Olympic partner Samsung Electronics, which was downloaded 121,000 times by the end of The Games, and organised a World Leaders’ Summit during the Games to showcase London and Britain as a destination for both major events and unique tourism experiences.
As the London Olympics closed, we launched Memories are GREAT Britain, our £13.5 million marketing push with airlines, hotel companies and tour operators, offering special deals to travellers. During the campaign, we ran full-page adverts in National Geographic across six countries and Time Out advertorials in eight cities worldwide. Meanwhile our Bond is GREAT campaign had it all - cinema, press, digital and outdoor advertising. Following on from the blockbuster James Bond film Skyfall, we screened our tourism advert in cinemas in inbound markets including Australia, Brazil, Germany and the US. Alongside this and focused on special offers as well as an interactive online experience, ‘Agent UK’ engaged our digital and social media followers. The PR coverage that resulted from the campaign was valued at £36 million.
A GREAT image
The highlights of our image campaign have included Sounds of GREAT Britain, a campaign that drew on the sounds that make Britain unique, and greeted audiences with evocative adverts and an interactive film that enjoyed over 1.3 billion global viewers. Our ongoing partnership with Barclays Premier League saw football fans worldwide offered the opportunity to win a trip to Britain in a season-long digital game with a prize of a flight, complimentary match tickets and even a behind-the scenes stadium tour.
Opening its doors to the public in 2014, our GREAT British Takeover of Bloomingdales New York was a showcase of the best that England, Scotland and Wales have to offer. With GREAT British window displays, Union Jack carpets and London Underground shopping stations, the event helped unveil four exclusive travel packages for Bloomingdales shoppers. And transforming a Brazilian rooftop to replicate the last ever Beatles concert, our GREAT British Rock Street saw the leading Beatles tribute act play to eagerly awaiting crowds. This quickly became one of the go-to happenings of the Rock in Rio festival in 2013.
With new air routes set to draw visitors from all corners of the globe, we organised a raft of activity in partnership with operators in India, China, UAE, Australia and the USA, to raise awareness of these exciting new travel gateways. From a panda flashmob in China with British Airways, virtual technology inviting users to experience British attractions in shopping malls across Saudi Arabia with Qatar Airways, and GREAT British branding catching travellers’ eyes at Charles du Gaulle airport, Paris – we showcased the breadth of Britain to holidaymakers far and wide, so when they next thought about booking a flight, Britain would be front of mind.
In 2014/15, our year-long advertising campaign (including interactive social media activity) at Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, showcased the breadth of Britain to international travellers.
Download our full GREAT Highlights (PDF, 3.88MB) document.
Maximising social to build aspiration
Delivered through our activity with the GREAT campaign, #OMGB – (Oh My GREAT Britain) Home of Amazing Moments launched in January 2016. An evolution of our previous marketing campaigns, it presents a new over-arching proposition in promoting travel here – building the aspiration to explore the whole of Britain, generating bookings and ultimately increase visitor spend. The #OMGB social campaign centred on encouraging social interaction across digital channels by inviting travellers to share snapshots of special moments and experiences with their friends, family and social communities using the campaign hashtag.
We continued our successful collaboration with the Premier League promoting the destinations behind Britain’s football teams, and worked with a range of travel partners including British Airways, Expedia, easyJet, Malaysia Airways, Turkish Airways and Hainan Airways to raise awareness, open up new routes and generate interest in our regions, targeting key markets in all continents. With sterling worth 10% less against the US dollar, our latest campaign with British Airways in July shared the ‘Welcome to Britain’ message with US consumers inspiring them to travel now. Targeting leisure and business travellers with a flash sale, it encouraged them to book immediately to experience all that Britain has to offer.