Weber Shandwick wins £300,000 Foreign & Commonwealth Office brief

Weber Shandwick has taken a prestigious Foreign & Com¬monwealth Office (FCO) comms brief from Trimedia.

Holidays: FCO warns of the danger
Holidays: FCO warns of the danger

The FCO’s ‘Know Before You Go’ travel safety campaign went to Weber Shandwick following a four-way pitch that included Trimedia. The fees are thought to be worth £300,000.

The appointment of Weber Shandwick comes after it emerged Princess Beatrice had started a summer job with the FCO’s consular comms team.

The FCO’s long-standing travel safety campaign was set up in 2001 to provide helpful information and advice before the British public prepares for its summer holidays. The aim is to reduce the number of ‘preventable’ problems en¬countered by British embas¬sies around the world.

Weber Shandwick consumer director Emma Thomp¬son is believed to have helped wrestle the account from Tri¬media. Thompson led the account when she worked at Trimedia from 2005 to 2008. Asked about the reason for the account changing hands,

She said: ‘Weber Shandwick brought a good combination of experience and fresh think¬ing to the brief.’

The year-round PR cam¬paign targets all British holi¬day-goers, but it particularly aims to reach out to groups of travellers considered most at risk. These include British ethnic minority groups; lower-income holiday-mak¬ers; those travelling to watch sport, such as football fans; and older people who may be visiting friends and family, or thinking about living abroad.

The agency will also be targeting younger travellers, including those thinking about gap years.

Thompson said there was a possibility that many people could be taking a single for¬eign holiday this year because of the recession. As a result of this, they may be more prone to going ‘all out’, thus increas¬ing the dangers.

During last year’s cam¬paign, Trimedia used research that looked into the effects of the credit crunch on people’s preparations.

It revealed two-thirds are spending less on preparations than in previous years. Trimedia used this information to stress the message that peo¬ple should not cut corners on personal safety.

The campaign works with nearly 300 travel industry partners to communicate its messages.

Trimedia will continue to work for the FCO on a new campaign designed to educate the British public about the work of the department and its consulates and embassies around the world.

How I See It

Emma Thompson
Director, Weber Shandwick

One of the main focuses of the FCO’s travel safety campaign is black and ethnic minority groups. For these groups, problems can often arise when they travel to visit friends and family. When they go on holiday to Spain they prepare just like everyone else, but when travel home or to see relatives in India, Pakistan or Jamaica they do not do the same level of preparation. They think ‘I’m going home, why do I need travel insurance? Why do I need Malaria protection?’ For that audience we will look at going to things such as the African OyŽ festival in Liverpool and picking a celebrity to represent them.

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