Consejo Promocion Turistica De Mexico/ CPTM Promo, Case study MEXICO: THE PLACE YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW by Ogilvy & Mather USA

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Industry Destinations (Countries & Places)
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Ogilvy & Mather USA
Account Supervisor Max Kelerstein
Released March 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Executive Vice President: Matthew Winokur (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Executive Vice President: Jennifer Risi (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Vice President: Joshua Levin (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Account Director: Tara Mullins (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Account Director: Rachael Rees (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Account Executive: Kimberly Ryan (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Assistant Account Executive: Kimberly Miller (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Assistant Account Executive: Kelsey Garvey (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Media Influence: Rachel Mcpherson (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Managing Director, Content and Media Strategy: Betsy Stark (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Vice President: Layla Revis (Social@Ogilvy)
Account Supervisor: Max Kelerstein (Social@Ogilvy)
Ogilvy & Mather: Mini Johri (Management Supervisor)
Media placement: General PR - - 1 March 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - - 1 March 2011
Media placement: Media Relations - - 1 March 2011
Media placement: Advertising - - 1 March 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Mexico has long conjured images of exotic beauty, Mayan civilization and cities rich in culture. But a bloody drugs war, stemming from the government’s determination to end the illegal narcotics trade, changed Mexico’s image overnight. Media coverage sensationalized the violence, portraying Mexico as unsafe to work, live and even visit.

A company in crisis calls for a sophisticated and interconnected strategy to repair its reputation. But a whole country in crisis calls for another order of magnitude. At stake: Mexico’s reputation and its entire economy, from foreign direct investment to tourism.

The multi-country campaign sought not only to correct distortions about the drug war chaos but also create a compellingly positive story about the inspirational new Mexico.

The strategy:
Awaken media and key influencers to the fact that Mexico had been taken hostage by a single-minded storyline and introduce a thriving, young, high-tech, multifaceted powerhouse.

Favourable shifts in perception resulted from the integrated campaign with a ten-fold increase in the number of positive articles and 1bn online impressions. A tourism revival and investment resurgence have bolstered Mexico’s economy, despite a global recession, and increased consumer and business confidence, even bringing cruise ships back to Mexican ports since leaving in 2010.

The Situation
Once a popular tourist destination known for its luxurious beaches and rich culture, Mexico’s image drastically changed overnight to one of a cartel-laden war state. Forgotten were the enchanting shores and stunning landscapes, as the media portrayed the entire country as a bloody war zone, to the detriment of Mexico’s tourism and investment reputation. The Government of Mexico asked for help in crafting and disseminating Mexico’s real story that was drowned out by the relentless media coverage of beheadings and extreme drug violence. Mexico’s reputation and its whole economy were at stake, especially foreign direct investment and tourism.

The Goal
Research indicated that key audiences’ perceptions of Mexico were in a downward spiral. The bombardment of negative messages through media channels resonated and sowed seeds of doubt and insecurity in the minds of influential investors, policymakers and potential travellers.

The campaign sought to correct distortions, restore Mexico’s reputation and repair damage caused to investment and tourism. We would turn the tide in the media and show that the danger was contained. A compelling new narrative would introduce the inspirational Mexico the world did not know: a dynamic, educated, high-tech powerhouse ready to take its place on the international stage.

The Strategy
Mexico’s identity crisis demanded a deep understanding of how media and individuals reshape opinions in an emotive climate. Relying on facts alone would not work: we needed to engage trusted, likeable, 'people like me', to share opinions and convince US, Canadian and European tourists and business professionals of everything Mexico has to offer. Our insight, therefore, was to create a 4-pronged strategy based on likeable, trusted faces in key markets outside Mexico. We aimed not only to correct the distortions about the chaos of the drug war but to tell the full story of the current, forward-thinking and innovative country. A combination of transforming media coverage to pinpoint the violence, engaging online influencers as blog ambassadors, highlighting business investment opportunities and glorifying Mexico’s diversity through advertising and public relations would portray the compelling, optimistic story of the awe-inspiring Mexico the rest of the world had yet to discover.

Top government officials became ambassadors during an 8-city U.S. media tour, eventually reaching Europe and Canada. Media now understood the drug violence was limited to a small part of a vast country and the US State Department narrowed its travel warnings.

Trusted US influencers who already cherished Mexico became social media ambassadors, sharing their passion for the country’s culture, cuisine and design. Facebook communities, blog posts and Tweet Ups increased interest and sustained engagement, building awareness both on and offline.

Powerful, credible friends of Mexico were recruited to tell the overlooked business story. CEOs from Fortune 100 companies and a legendary trade official shared personal, unscripted stories of why Mexico is important to the US and global economy. Affinity groups, including corporate intranets, helped spread this message.

Finally, an integrated advertising campaign launched in key European markets revealed modern Mexico as a premier travel and investment destination with new surprises.

Documented Results
The campaign successfully shifted attitudes and substantially bolstered tourism and investment. 350 media interviews produced 4bn media impressions across 6 countries, more than the previous 3 years combined. Tone in coverage shifted from 'negative/neutral' to 'neutral/positive', and reports showed a 10-fold increase in positive articles. Online communications generated 1bn impressions and advertising yielded over 460m unique views.

Tourism surged as the Ministry of Tourism announced 2011 was its best year ever, a 2% increase over 2010 despite an ongoing global recession. International hotel and resort chains have increased Mexico investments in Mexico by 127% since 2010. Cruise lines have returned to Mexico’s ports. Business confidence in Mexico has grown with foreign direct investment in Mexico up 9.7% year-over-year.

While the mission continues, the crisis that claimed a country is contained and the world has a new way of thinking about the Mexico they thought they knew.