Iceland hires agencies to promote tourism in £10m global brief

Promote Iceland has appointed M&C Saatchi Group to jump start its tourism industry as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

'Diamond beach' at the foot of the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón (thumbnail) is a graveyard of icebergs. Photos: Arvind Hickman
'Diamond beach' at the foot of the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón (thumbnail) is a graveyard of icebergs. Photos: Arvind Hickman

The brief includes PR, social, experiential and advertising to more than 20 countries with a focus on key tourism markets of the US, UK and Germany.

M&C Saatchi won the global brief from a field of 15 agencies, and will work in partnership with Reykjavik-based agency Peel.

The agency said it won the pitch for an approach focused on “how the natural beauty, open space and warm characters of Iceland offer ‘personal sustainability’”.  

The team delivering the work includes SS&K in the US, M&C Saatchi London, PR agency M&C Saatchi Talk and M&C Saatchi Intelligence in the UK, along with network agencies around Europe. They will work with lcelandic agency Peel.

“We could not be more excited to go on this journey with M&C Saatchi and Peel. From our first conversation, we felt there was a level of understanding and insight present that usually takes years and years of cooperation to develop,” Promote Iceland director of communications Sveinn Birkir Björnsson said.

M&C Saatchi Global Lead Lenny Stern added: “Iceland is an exciting partner for us because they are so well positioned to lead in this moment – they are safe, they are first, and their natural beauty and people have no peer. Iceland is what we need after what we've been through." 

Iceland is famous for its waterfalls, including Skógafoss in the south.

Iceland has successfully controlled the spread of the virus and begun a gradual reopening of its borders. It began welcoming visitors from 15 June, who can either take a COVID-19 test or spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival. Visitors are asked to download a track and trace app while in the country.  

Tourism is the largest export sector in Iceland, accounting for 42 per cent of export revenue. 

"Tourism is crucial to our country's economic wellbeing, and we are proud to work with Promote Iceland to help the recovery from this difficult time,” Peel co-founder Magnus Magnusson said. 

“Our unique relationship with M&C Saatchi gives us the network to reach every important market, a powerful idea to spark tourism and the Icelandic talent to turn that idea into a successful international campaign.”

Promote Iceland said the campaign will roll out in early summer.

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