Zimmerman to helm British Virgin Islands' outreach

TALLAHASSEE, FL: The British Virgin Islands (BVI) Tourist Board has selected The Zimmerman Agency as AOR for a $12 million, 3-year campaign.

TALLAHASSEE, FL: The British Virgin Islands (BVI) Tourist Board has selected The Zimmerman Agency as AOR for a $12 million, 3-year campaign.

More than 22 firms were invited to pitch and eight agencies made final presentations.

The agency's campaign will build upon the tourism board's prevailing theme, "Nature's Little Secrets," and will include a mixture of media relations to upscale publications and cross-promotions with similarly affluent brands. Zimmerman will also help create a coffee table book featuring celebrities and other renowned figured highlighting the islands' benefits.

But for a destination attracting as many celebrities as BVI does, Carrie Zimmerman, partner, said that the tourism industry there is uncharacteristically tight-lipped about who comes to the islands. As such, Zimmerman said the agency will not do any media strategy highlighting celebrity visits.

Zimmerman said that the islands have always been low-key about promotions, and that competing firms had to display they understood that level of discretion in their pitches.

"The challenge is that part of the islands' allure has been the mystique," Zimmerman said. "Getting more publicity while keeping that mystique is difficult."

The British territory has fewer than 1,000 hotel rooms in its entire nation, and no hotel or restaurant chains. There are also no cheap or direct flights to the islands, helping maintain that sense of difficult attainability.

The agency will target previous visitors as well as newcomers.

"Unless you've visited 20 islands, you haven't had the total experience of what you can do there," Zimmerman said.

The tourism board previously worked with Young & Rubicam's PR division.

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