M&C Saatchi Group has been brought in by Promote Iceland to drive tourism as the world emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic. In what is the first major global tourism brief to be awarded anywhere in the world since the virus emerged in China in January, M&C Saatchi has been hired to promote Iceland to restore visitor numbers.
In partnership with the Reykjavik-based agency Peel, M&C Saatchi won the competitive pitch in a field of 15 agencies. The agency’s approach focused on how the natural beauty, open space and warm characters of Iceland offer ‘personal sustainability'. This strategy speaks to individuals but also connects with the world, reflecting Iceland’s status as a global leader in sustainability.
The brief includes PR, social, experiential and advertising and extends to more than 20 countries with a priority given to key markets US, UK and Germany.
Iceland has led the rest of the world in its response to the pandemic and has successfully controlled the virus. Now embarking on a gradual reopening, the country is welcoming visitors who, from 15th June, can choose between two weeks of quarantine or a Covid-19 test. They will also be asked to download a track and trace app.
Lenny Stern, M&C Saatchi global lead commented: “Our agency helps brands navigate moments of change, and it is hard to imagine a more monumental shift than what's happening in global tourism right now. Iceland is an exciting partner for us because they are so well positioned to lead in this moment - they are safe, they are first, and their natural beauty and people have no peer. Iceland is what we need after what we've been through!"
Director of communications for Promote Iceland, Sveinn Birkir Björnsson, added: “We could not be more excited to go on this journey with M&C Saatchi and Peel. From our first conversation, we felt there was a level of understanding and insight present that usually takes years and years of cooperation to develop.“
By 2019, Iceland had become one of the world’s most desirable destinations. Visitor numbers had been steadily increasing from the start of a tourism boom in 2010 with numbers quadrupling between 2012 and 2018.
This win was also based on the breadth of geographies and capabilities of the M&C Saatchi Group plus the strength of the partnership with local Icelandic agency Peel. The integrated team delivering the work involves M&C Saatchi teams around the world including SS&K in the US, M&C Saatchi London, PR agency M&C Saatchi Talk and M&C Saatchi Intelligence in the UK along with network agencies around Europe. The partnership with Peel completes the global team.
Peel co-founder Magnus Magnusson, said: "Tourism is crucial to our country's economic well-being, and we are proud to work with Promote Iceland to help the recovery from this difficult time. Our unique relationship with M&C Saatchi gives us the network to reach every important market, a powerful idea to spark tourism and the Icelandic talent to turn that idea into a successful international campaign.”
The campaign will be rolled out in early summer, according to Promote Iceland.