VisitBritain pulls marketing campaign in wake of riots

VisitBritain has pulled an overseas advertising campaign while the current unrest in UK cities continues.

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The pre-roll video ad is part of the campaign to build on the platform to the world provided by the London 2012 Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The ad has been running in overseas territories since late July on bbc.com’s BBC World News and comprises edited footage from films made by VisitBritain’s brand ambassadors, including Dame Judi Dench and Jamie Oliver.

Head of marketing Joss Croft said that it was not appropriate to run the campaign ahead of the news on bbc.com showing images of rioting and looting in the UK.

However, he said that the decision was being reviewed “hour by hour” and that the digital nature of the campaign meant it could be switched back on easily with no cost implications.

Croft adds: “We need to recognise that people’s perceptions of Britain are formed over many decades, if not centuries, and these incidents are not likely to have a long-lasting effect. We think this will all blow over quite quickly.”

He says that VisitBritain offices overseas are monitoring the tone and extent of local media coverage.

London & Partners, the recently established public-private body representing the capital, says that it is reviewing plans for its autumn marketing campaign but has made no decision to pull activity.

Marketing and communications director Martine Ainsworth-Wells says:”It is currently too early to anticipate the effect on tourism/ inward investment but we are monitoring the situation and we will work with the industry to respond to specific issues as they arise. Past experience tells us that London recovers very quickly from such events and we will focus on recovery activity as soon as it is viable to do so.”

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