Hi Lovie Awards judges, this is the case for Rotterdam Partners

City marketing Rotterdam style

As the Dutch government relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in the spring of 2020, Rotterdam Partners wanted to promote their city in a way that entices tourists to return. The challenge was to stand out amongst all the other tourist destinations and attractions, both locally and abroad, who were also aggressively advertising. And to translate the iconic Rotterdam attitude and unique city characteristics into our campaign — best captured in words, by the late Jules Deelder, famous Rotterdam poet and maybe one of the city’s most notorious citizens.

Rotterdam is not romantic

It doesn’t have time for nonsense

It isn’t open to suggestions

It doesn’t listen to bullshit

Rotterdam is no illusion

Created by cameras

Rotterdam can’t be filmed

Rotterdam is way too real.

Rotterdam Visual 2

Just go yourself!

As described by Jules Deelder and well known to all Dutch people: Rotterdam isn’t a city of sweet talkers or pretty pictures. To understand it, one has to experience it in person. So our entire campaign was based on communicating just that. In the same recognisable and bold way, in every channel, with one powerful statement: Just Go Yourself! 

Rotterdam Visual 3

This is how we captured the Rotterdam attitude and immediately translated it into a clear Call-To-Action for our audience, ensuring that we stand out from all the other tourism campaigns that try to lure people with big talk and glossy imagery.

One call to action for the entire campaign

We made sure that our call to action was the hero of every single piece of communication. Whether it was a poster, film or influencer content, everything had the exact same message, in a recognisable design that fit the brand Rotterdam Partners. Of course, it stayed true to the official city colours of Rotterdam. And since it was a summer campaign, the green was purposely bright and didn’t just stand out in size, but in colour too  – blocking every sight in town, from the famous Erasmus bridge and Euromast, to the more hidden gems, leaving everything to be desired.

Rotterdam Visual 4

Influencers censored

We kicked-off the campaign via influencers as soon as travel within the Netherlands was allowed again. The Dutch influencers with international allure were also housebound, and were happy to set out again in their own country. Their ‘Regular’ vlogs tend to show-and-tell people in every tiny detail, how awesome things are, so we chose to stay true to the campaign concept and do the exact opposite. 

Each influencer created 3-minute IGTV videos, in which they went on a day trip to Rotterdam, visiting 5 of the city’s landmarks. They also posted several IG Stories: with a sequence of 10 slides showing highlights of the vlog, plus an IG Story with a swipe up to the landing page with the route they took. But before posting, we took all these videos and censored all the sights with our campaign message: Just Go Yourself. Creating the First Influencer travel campaign that shows NOTHING of the destination. 

Rotterdam Visual 5

Results

The campaign helped Rotterdam’s cultural institutions, attractions, companies, entrepreneurs and the city as a whole to attract local, Dutch tourists – in a difficult year for travel and tourism.

Here are the numbers:

  • Impressions: 217,626
  • Reach: 194,936
  • Total IGTV views: 18,736
  • ER% (engagement rate): 6.87%

To put these results in perspective: This was achieved with only 2 influencer accounts and a limited amount of content. The engagement rate of 6.87% was more than twice that of most influencer content, proving our concept resonated very well with our audience.

But of course, this campaign was not about the clicks, shares, or likes. Instead of looking at other people showing off Rotterdam: Just Go Yourself! And in the first two weeks of the campaign, already about 250 physical tours were booked through the campaign website. Sadly the campaign was pulled shortly after, as new Covid-19 measures were implemented. And Rotterdam couldn’t cope with more tourists.

6.87%

ER%

250

Tours booked

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