To help devise a fresh strategy, the national tourism body has appointed creative agency Albion to its multimillion- pound advertising account, following a competitive pitch.
VisitBritain has worked with a succession of UK and international ad agencies, including Farm, TMW and Swedish digital agency Lifelike. However, Albion is the first agency to be assigned to a global brief.
Albion will shortly begin work on creating integrated campaigns targeting consumers in 35 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
Iain Morrison, VisitBritain's international marketing manager, who led the review, said it was important to improve the emotional allure of British tourist attractions, as well as making better use of social media platforms.
‘We can be seen as too austere overseas, and lacking the romance of our competitors, so it is vital that we try to stay at the forefront of destination advertising, with strong social media activity to gain advocates,' he added.
As part of a wider review in the run-up to London 2012, in January VisitBritain global marketing director Laurence Bresh announced plans to divide its marketing into five sub-sections. ‘Classic' traditional tourism marketing will retain the biggest budget, while VisitBritain will target more specific audiences with messages based on the themes of ‘luxury', ‘dynamism', ‘Generation Y', and ‘lesbian, gay and bisexual'.
A ‘classic' campaign, feat-uring a fresh creative approach, will launch first in Latin America in the summer, before rolling out globally in the autumn.
As part of the recent revamp, the body launched a consumer-facing logo that uses the word ‘Britain' rather than the ‘VisitBritain' identity, as well as introducing the strapline ‘You're invited'.
Separately, VisitBritain has been engaged in exploratory talks with London 2012 sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Samsung about the possibility of the brands funding campaigns to encourage tourists to visit the UK during the 2012 Games.