City Of Ventspils Promo, Case study STATE WITHIN A STATE by DDB Riga, Nords Porter Novelli

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Industry Destinations (Countries & Places)
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Latvia
Agency DDB Riga
Creative Director Gatis Murnieks
Art Director Ivo Jusis
Designer Kunti Berzinska
Strategic Planner Kristaps Silins
Agency Nords Porter Novelli
Released October 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Product/Service: TOURISM BOARD
Creative Director: Gatis Murnieks
Art Director: Ivo Jusis
Designer: Kunti Berzinska (DDB Worldwide Latvia)
Copywrite: Marta Kukarane (DDB Worldwide Latvia)
Account Director: Nora Kirta (DDB Worldwide Latvia)
Strategy Director: Andris Rubins (DDB Worldwide Latvia)
Strategic Planner: Kristaps Silins (DDB Worldwide Latvia)
Creative Director (Digital): Marcis Mikelsons (Cube)
Client Account Director: Evija Ansovska (Nords Porter Novelli)
Account Manager: Agnija Jankovska (Nords Porter Novelli)
Media placement: Video Announcement Of Ventspils Vents - - 07.10.2011
Media placement: The Presentation Event Of Ventspils Vents - - 12.10.2011
Summary of the Campaign
Ventspils is a city by the sea in the west of Latvia, inhabited by 43,000 people. It aims at becoming a key city in the Baltics for tourism, education and business. In 2011, Ventspils was perceived positively by 84% of Latvians, but less than 16% were planning to visit it. Its visitor flows were stagnating. The city lacked a point of difference. We had to attract more visitors, and make them return. We created a PR-based campaign to earn media attention. First came the insight that Latvians perceive Ventspils as highly distinct from the rest of the country. Second, we chose to use gamification and online engagement to attract foreign audiences. When we looked carefully into the city of Ventspils, we realised that it is far more than a mere city - it could well be a city-state. We made Ventspils act like a country - print its own currency and open embassies worldwide. A 5-stage launch caused a tsunami in the media. Venti currency became popular even before its launch conference. Now, virtual Venti can be earned at the Ventspils online embassies, opened for 103 countries, and spent in real life at the top tourist destinations in Ventspils. Already a week after the launch, 74% of Latvians knew of Ventspils Venti. During the first 6 weeks, we ended up issuing 10m Venti to satisfy the demand, exceeding our expectations 10 times over. In a public vote, the campaign was awarded as the Most Loved Campaign of 2011.
The Situation
Ventspils is a city by the sea in the far west of Latvia, inhabited by 43,000 people. Ever since its inception in the 14th century, Ventspils’ ambitions have far exceeded its size. In the past, it has been a shipbuilding centre that set out its fleet to colonise Gambia and Tobago. Today, it is financially stronger than the average in Latvia and aims at becoming a Baltic centre for tourism, education and business. In 2011, Ventspils was perceived positively by 84% of Latvians; nevertheless, its tourist flows were stagnating. Less than 16% of Latvians were planning to visit Ventspils.
The Goal
We planned to rebrand Ventspils (reach 50% awareness), attract more visitors and to facilitate returning visits. First, we targeted economically active Latvians (many had visited Ventspils, were recommending it to others, but didn’t see a reason to return. More than 40% perceived the city as highly unique and different from the rest of Latvia). Second, potential international guests (regions tourism market is saturated, Ventspils lacked a point of difference). We decided to attract Ventspils fans as promoters (more outgoing (69%) and frequent social media users (91%) than the average Latvian). We had to create engaging content and earn media exposure.
The Strategy
We looked into Ventspils and realised that it is far more than a mere city: it could well be a city-state. We made Ventspils act like a country - print its own currency and open embassies worldwide. The State within a State brand concept was created. To attract maximum media attention prior to the concept launch press conference, we used mysterious, open-ended announcements by the mayor of the city, expecting they would have to be debated and commented on both by the general public and on a governmental level. A period of 1 week was planned for the debate to escalate, prior to revealing the new marketing concept.
We used a 5-stage launch, starting with a (1) teaser press announcement, where the mayor of Ventspils claimed that, in a week’s time, the city would have its own currency. It caused a tsunami in the media, and the head of the Central Bank and the President of Latvia had to take part in the debate. Next, we used an (2) anonymous Venti bank note photo leakage on Twitter, one day before the launch to reiterate that the plans were real, (3) launch press conference, where the currency was announced in circulation in the form of tourist coupons, (4) currency exchange opening, with Venti being accepted at more than 40 Ventspils tourist destinations and (5) introduction of an online embassy for 103 countries, allowing anyone to earn virtual Venti by content creation. Virtual Venti are saved in the person's account and can later be spent in Ventspils, in real life.
Documented Results
• On the day of the launch, Venti had become the main news topic of the week in Latvia and gained international publicity, worth more than €500,000.
• 1 week after the launch, 74% of the Latvian population was aware of Ventspils Venti (target: 50%).
• In six weeks, more than 10m Venti banknotes were obtained in real life by Ventspils visitors (target: 1m). Almost 3m Venti have been used up to date in Ventspils.
• In 2 months, 30,000 people visited the main currency exchange, located in Ventspils (target: 3,000), and 50,000 people visited the Ventspils embassy, 68% of them being foreign visitors and spending 5 minutes on the site on average.
• For comparison, the city Ventspils has only 43,000 inhabitants.
• Awarded the Most Loved Campaign of the Year prize at Adwards 2012, based upon a public poll.