Promote Iceland: Using people power to save a country

Matt Springate
The Brooklyn Brothers

SUMMARY

On a seemingly ordinary weekday evening back in April 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano unexpectedly erupted.

Black ash clouds spread across the skies of Europe and world air travel came to a standstill.

Tourism numbers to Iceland plummeted ahead of the all important summer season. If left unchecked, this would mean another disaster for the already embattled country.

This paper is about how planning began the fight back by creating a new type of tourism campaign that used people power rather than a traditional communications approach to rapidly change the perceptions of tourists globally and increase tourism to the small country by 27% in just 6 months, worth over £138.7 million to the Icelandic economy.

THE SCALE OF TASK

TAKING ON A VOLCANO

The country of Iceland had transformed itself from one of Europe's poorest countries to one of its wealthiest in the space of a generation. But fast-forward to September 2008 and the country emerged as the biggest casualty of the global financial crisis and its future looked bleak. Then, on the 14th April 2010, another killer blow was dealt to the country’s people and its economy. The dormant volcanic glacier, Eyjafjallajökull, unexpectedly erupted and sent plumes of ash into the Icelandic air. Black ash clouds engulfed the skies and world air travel was thrown into turmoil.