Campaign: Scotland lures fans to Dan Brown's locations

After the release of Dan Brown's bestseller, which featured the 15th-century medieval Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, visitor numbers to the Scottish attraction soared - from 68,603 in 2004 to 118,151 in 2005. With the release of the Da Vinci Code film, VisitScotland wanted to make the most of the opportunity to promote the country to tourists.

Client VisitScotland
PR teams In-house, plus LDPR in the US, TQC in France and Moonshine in Spain
Timescale December 2005-May 2006
Budget £120,000

Objectives
To capture the excitement around the film and convert fans into visitors. To educate the public about locations in Scotland, and provide information to fans on how to get to Rosslyn Chapel.

To prove that VisitScotland has sufficiently used the opportunity to raise awareness of Scotland as a holiday destination to a global audience. To dispel some of the myths attached to Rosslyn Chapel.

Strategy and Plan
With the book having sold 60 million copies and been translated into 94 languages, the aim was to tap into the  existing fanbase. Partnerships were vital to this campaign. VisitScotland established working relationships with film-maker Sony Pictures, the French Tourist Board and VisitBritain to promote locations.

A micro-site, visitdavincicode.com - with details of the film, locations, characters and competitions - was
created, and versions in seven lang­uages went live in April.

Themed A5 touring maps also supported marketing activity in Europe, while a programme of trips for various travel media was arranged in 15 countries.

Meanwhile, a DVD was made to show ‘the real Rosslyn chapel'. When the movie was premiered at Cannes, Scottish media (and Miss Scotland) were invited to attend.

To maintain interest in the specially constructed website, a viral competition was launched in seven countries. VisitScotland also collaborated with Scotland on Sunday on a film supplement, which included a double-page pull-out on the ‘100 greatest movie locations in Scotland'.

Measurement and Evaluation
There were more than 30 positive articles in Scottish media alone, including The Scotsman, Scottish Daily Record and the Aberdeen Press & Journal. North American coverage was widespread, including The Washington Post, Florida Times-Union, Philadelphia Enquirer, Vancouver Sun and the Winnipeg Free Press.

The quasi-religious nature of the film also led to mentions of Visit­Scotland on ScottishChristian.com and ChristianToday.com.

Results
More than 100 journalists from 18 countries were hosted on press trips, and their coverage reached an estimated  56 million people. Between 12 April and 12 June, there were 66,469 unique visits to visitdavincicode.com.

The DVD was distributed to 500 film and travel media contacts and more than 160,000 people have requested the touring maps. The value of press competitions has been estimated at around £10m.

Scotland on Sunday senior writer Jeremy Watson says: ‘The Cannes trip showed VisitScotland could punch above its weight. The disappointment was the film - it made Rosslyn Chapel look like it was just outside London.'

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