The UK’s Tourism Campaign Aims to Be Even More ‘Great’

VisitBritain‘s longstanding “Great” tourism campaign, which encourages travelers to flock to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is set to get even more creative, with ambitions to deliver award-winning work and grow the nation’s appeal on the world stage.

The campaign has been running for 12 years. It debuted long before Britain’s exit from the European Union and just ahead of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, established to showcase the countries of Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to the world.

Under its new director, Kate Taylor Tett, who stepped up from deputy director last fall, the campaign aims to grow overall visitor numbers to 39.5 million this year, up from 37.8 million inbound visits in 2023. Should it achieve that goal, it estimates that $43 million (£34.1 million) will be added to the U.K. economy.

As one of several public bodies that operates within the U.K. government’s Cabinet Office, the “Great” campaign is serviced through a framework of 26 agencies. The roster, which applies across the units the Cabinet Office oversees, includes Accenture Song, DDB UK, Havas UK, M&C Saatchi, Manning Gottlieb OMD, Tag Europe and Tullo Marshall Warren.

At the last review in October 2021, the overall framework budget was advertised as being £490 million across a four-year contract.

VisitBritain also operates alongside partners such as the BBC, British Airways, the Premier League, Fever-Tree, Universal Music Group and Darktrace, as well as a host of small businesses and high-profile individuals who help promote its messaging through their platforms.

I want to see it as a beacon of talent and creativity and effectiveness. But not just in the context of the U.K. government or even of national brands.

Kate Taylor Tett, director of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s “Great” campaign

“’Great’ is a strong campaign and a testament to the fact that it’s survived 13 years [of] governments,” stated Taylor Tett, former marketing director at British retailer House of Fraser and executive at AMV BBDO. She joined VisitBritain in 2020.

“It has so much more potential than it’s been able to achieve,” she continued. “I want to see it as a beacon of talent and creativity and effectiveness. But not just in the context of the U.K. government or even of national brands, I think we should be up there competing with the best private-sector brands, as well.”

And now, VisitBritain intends to up its game in terms of creative output, with Taylor Tett hoping to see it pick up awards along the way to prove its international appeal. She admits that she has high hopes of winning at Cannes Lions.

“I spent the first 10 years of my career in an ad agency where creativity is king,” she said. “But I feel that that is what is going to move things forward at pace. Our budgets are relatively meager. They’re depressing versus the private sector, and they’re even pretty meager versus our competitors. And so, creativity has to be the thing that sets us apart.”

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