Wild About Argyll campaign success speaks for itself
THE BUSINESS co- operative set up five years ago to promote the growth of tourism in Argyll and the Isles has expressed disappointment following publication of claims that it has wasted public funding, saying its campaign statistics speak for themselves and government figures demonstrate that Argyll and the Isles has comprehensively outperformed Scotland as a whole in tourism growth.
An individual claimed the group was not performing in a social media world. However, Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative (AITC) is confident statistics and levels of engagement tell a different story.
In January, AITC launched its multi-level, year-long £100,000 marketing campaign, Wild About Argyll, funded by VisitScotland Growth Fund, Argyll and Bute Council and AITC.
Primarily a digital campaign, it is aimed at raising awareness of Argyll and the Isles, targeting a much younger, more active market and positioning the region as Scotland’s Adventure Coast.
Seven main videos and 24 sports and local videos have been produced and are being shared online. So far the short campaign video alone has had 326,657 completed views since the campaign launched in January.
The main Wild About Argyll videos, featuring Scottish adventurer and endurance athlete Mark Beaumont, and following a 12-day adventure and filming project, led by AITC, were produced in 2016. The promotional Wild About Argyll advert was screened in central belt cinemas and viewed by almost 200,000 people over three weeks, including Easter. Throughout March, digital panels with short Wild AboutArgyll films were on display on all Glasgow’s subway escalators with passenger figures over 1.1 million. The digital campaign has reached more than one million people in the target audience and has generated more than two million impressions on Facebook and Instagram.
On top of this, from March to July, the Wild About Argyll films have been viewed more than 276,000 times via Mark Beaumont’s channels and the Live
Forever music video over 146,000 times via Skerryvore’s channels.
AITC says there is also significant and growing collaboration with key local businesses and marketing groups. More than 40 businesses have provided over £4,000 worth of prizes for the online Wild About Argyll prize giveaway. Three of AITC’s local marketing groups have worked together to put Wild About Argyll branding on 10 Glasgow taxis throughout the summer.
Carron Tobin, AITC development manager, said: ‘AITC is a registered co-operative and its board of directors are all volunteers.
‘It currently operates with a freelance development team consisting of a development manager, PR and media manager, web editor and up to nine development agents.
‘As part of our engagement strategy, we identified Mark as a key influencer for adventure seekers and our Glasgow launch in January saw the release of the award-winning Skerryvore’s music video Live Forever with our Wild About Argyll footage. Both have actively shared this content on their own channels to their audiences – our target audiences – with significant engagement.
‘AITC has employed a digital agency with extensive experience to provide strategic advice and to deliver the Wild About Argyll digital campaign.
‘The digital activity they are delivering is largely not visible in the region. We are seeking to engage adventure seekers, both wild and mild, who have yet to experience what we have to offer – and people are actively engaging.
‘As this is a year-long campaign and we have generated a lot of content, over and above the digital campaign, new content is being released in a phased way with the films being a significant part of this. We want Wild About Argyll to be fresh and engaging throughout the year.’
Ms Tobin continued: ‘We report to our funders every quarter using statistics and activity updates. Our digital campaign and other online activity with the agency we have employed forms part of this – and we are achieving results.
‘A full evaluation of the £100,000 campaign will be undertaken and made available later this year. The recommendations from the review and assessment of our adventure tourism offer last year will be available soon as we announce our next steps.
‘An independent assessment of AITC and tourism growth over the previous five years was undertaken in December 2016 and concluded that tourism in Argyll and the Isles has outperformed the rest of Scotland in recent years and the latest government figures demonstrate growth in spend from £270m to £310m per annum for the latest year.
‘Fifteen per cent of all employment in Argyll is in tourism and the destination has earned the reputation of being an exemplar of collaboration, with growing business confidence and significant indigenous and inward investment in the tourism offer. This, combined with AITC’s clearly articulated strategy agreed by its membership, which focuses on developing the sector through its assets and our capabilities, has been the basis for on-going financial support for the activities of the AITC.’
The AITC is a dynamic membership organisation – open and accessible through its development agents and directors. For more information visit exploreargyll.co.uk.