As the national tourist board, VisitEngland wanted a campaign that would maximise the national reach of the Torch Relay. With the Olympic & Paralympic Games focusing on London & host venues, the Olympic torch relay promised to shine the light on every corner of England.The objective was to highlight the country to potential visitors, and provide an opportunity for industry partners and destinations outside London to get involved in 2012 media activity. VisitEngland wanted a campaign that wouldHighlight the entire country to potential visitorsEngage fans and followers on social media channelsPresent an opportunity to industry partnersRaise consumer awareness of VisitEnglandDrive traffic to the VE site and blogGenerate positive media coverage – of England and of VisitEngland
I met my branded VisitEngland campervan, named Rosie – the most popular name among VisitEngland’s fans - on 18th May in Land’s End where our 70-day journey beganVisitEngland arranged a press trip with key travel writers and bloggers to see off the Torch Relay and Fan in a Van. This helped kick-start the Twitter activity and my fanbase began to buildI had dedicated Fan in a Van social media estates – on Twitter @faninavan and a section of the VisitEngland blog where I recorded my journeyRosie and I were given a rough itinerary from VisitEngland, detailing our overnight stops (organised by partner Camping & Caravanning Club) and suggested attractions and activities. As our fanbase grew, recommendations increasingly came from our followers.We covered over 5,000 miles, stayed in 48 Camping & Caravanning Clubs and broke down just once – once I’d tweeted our predicament I had several messages of condolence and even the offer of flasks of coffee from someone living closeby. The lovely AA man who came to our rescue even helped for free when he knew who we were.
It was important to VisitEngland that they spread the opportunity around the country
Fiav campaign slides
VisitEngland’s Torch Relay CampaignFAN IN A VANRachel Kershaw
The IdeaThe Olympic Torch Relay presented a nationalopportunity.Destinations and Industry Partners outside ofLondon felt they would not benefit fromeffects of London2012.VisitEngland wanted a campaign that would• Highlight the entire country to potential visitors• Engage fans and followers on social media channels• Present an opportunity to industry partners• Raise consumer awareness of VisitEngland• Drive traffic to the VE site and blog• Generate positive media coverage – of England and of VisitEnglandRather than send an established blogger on the road, VisitEngland decided to discover its own star – tofind England’s biggest fan, to send them out on the road and turn them into a blogger.Fan in a Van was born.
The SearchVisitEngland’s new Fan in a Van needed to:• Be a big fan of England (obviously)• Be social media savvy• Be fearless – bungee jumps and eating challenges were on the menu• Be outgoing and a confident speaker• Be great writer• Be able to take great photos and use a videocamera• Get under the skin of the deepest, darkest depths of England and find its most interesting charactersA three part search was launched to find a social media savvy Englandfan:Part one: writing and photoPart two: videoPart three: meet the expert panelSocial media was used throughout – to advertise the position andencourage entries; to announce the social media platforms; tointroduce me as the winner, and to invite fans and followers to namethe van that was to become my home for 70 days…
The Winner… Yours TrulyOpportunity of a Lifetime – I saw VisitEngland’ssearch for England’s No1 Fan on Twitter and hadto apply!A bit about me:• I grew up in Rochdale, live in Newcastle and have always holidayed at home• I love writing, blogging and tweeting• Even more than that, I LOVE EnglandAfter applications from nearly 100 wannabe Fanin a Vans and three selection rounds I wasnamed VisitEngland’s winner!I hastily organised a sabbatical from my job inNewcastle and hotfooted it to London to spend aweek with the PR team before my journeybegan.
The Journey – from Land’s End to the Olympic ParkOur journey began with the launch of the Torch Relay on18th May in Land’s EndVisitEngland arranged a press trip with key travel writersand bloggers which kicked started the Twitter activityI had dedicated social media platforms:Twitter - @faninavanBlog – visitenglandblog.com/faninavanI tweeted and uploaded pics on the road, and uploaded blogs regularly, when I could find reliable WiFi!All I had confirmed were overnight stops. Activities were recommended by VisitEngland and their partnersaround the country and, increasingly, by our fans and followers.Over the next 70 days we:• Drove over 5,000 miles• Stayed in 48 Camping & caravanning Club Sites• Broke down once - and what an experience!
The Results – Industry EngagementKey campaign partners were The Camping &Caravanning Club and O’Connors CampersOther supporting organisations included:• Heritage Open Days• Historic Royal Palaces• Treasure Houses• Destination Management Organisations across EnglandPartners were tagged in tweets and tagged in blogposts and all generated their own social media buzzA ‘Fan in a Van After Party’ at the Tower of Londonwas the perfect way to thank all our partners andfriends of Fan in a Van I met along the way.
The Results – Consumer EngagementOver the 70 days, the campaign gained:1,300 Twitter followers13,000 page views4,000 unique visitorsBranded campervan, Rosie, raised awareness of VisitEnglandand got us lots of waves along the way!A Facebook competition asked ‘Fans of Fan in a Van’ to sendin their pics with Rosie to win a campervan trip of their own!A radio competition held with Radio Merseyside askedlisteners to suggest activities for Fan in a Van for the chanceto win a luxury Fortnum & Mason hamper.Campervan Rally at the end of the campaign was a greatopportunity to meet all of our fans – and gain some new onesAt the end of the summer, my blog was voted Best RoadtripBlog in the Avis Travel Blog Awards
The Results – CollateralDuring the 70 day adventure, I was tasked withbuilding a catalogue of content for VisitEngland:• 3,000 images for the VisitEngland blog and Flikr account• Dozens of blog posts• Nine videos of highlight experiences for the blog and YouTube account• Hundreds of locals’ recommendations for things to do and see around the country• Six timelapse videos were produced for use in future campaigns
The Results – Media CoverageFan in a Van generated: Over 150 pieces of coverage worth over £300k AVE = an ROI of 10:1Highlight coverage included:• Double page spread in the Sunday Mirror• Interview on Sky’s breakfast TV show, Sunrise• 16 regional radio interviews• ITV’s Holiday Home from Sweet Home