Campaign details

Brand: Flanders Fields 14-18
Brand owner: Visit Flanders
Lead agency: Ogilvy SocialLab
Country: Europe, North America, Australia
Industries: Destinations and locations
Media channels: Events & experiential, Livestreaming, Online video, Public relations, Social media, Word of mouth, influencers
Budget: Up to 500k

Executive summary

This paper shows how a simple insight led to a breakthrough social-by-design idea, which was then amplified through effective paid social tactics. By forging an emotional connection between the tragic anniversary of the First World War battle of Passchendaele and potential visitors, it not only reversed historic visitor declines to Flanders Fields’ WWI battlefields, but also gained international press coverage.

  • The challenge: With a tight budget, reverse falling visits to the Flemish battlefields of WWI against a background of terror attacks in Belgium.
  • The idea: Create an unforgettably moving symbol of the tragic Battle of Passchendaele, then tell its story through social media to audiences in Europe and worldwide.
  • Bringing the idea to life: The Mud Soldier, an ephemeral statue made with mud and sand from the battlefield. Amplified through an extensive social paid media funnel and earned social tactics.
  • The results: It captured the world’s imagination, grew unique visitors by 15%, drove nearly €1.5m in incremental ticket revenue and generated €6.95 for every €1 spent. But most importantly, it ensured that the story of Passchendaele would live on in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

Market background and objectives

A sharp downward trend in visitors and a projected revenue drop of nearly €1m