Brooklyn Brothers awarded for riding to the rescue of ash-stricken Iceland tourism

Integrated communications agency The Brooklyn Brothers won the Agency of the Year and Social Media Grand Prix at the recent European Effie Effectiveness Awards for tackling the ticklish problem of attracting tourists to a country, Iceland, that was supposedly clouded in volcanic ash. Iceland was also none too popular with people from other countries who found most of their flights grounded for a couple of weeks.

When the Eyjafjallajökulll volcano erupted in April 2010 tourism to Iceland plummeted and the embattled country was left with a projected £180m shortfall in revenue. The Brooklyn Brothers, along with local agency partner Íslenska, was hired to create a campaign, ‘Inspired by Iceland’ that tried to use people power rather than traditional broadcast-led travel ads to lure tourists back to Iceland.

To kick off the £2m campaign The Brooklyn Brothers created a first (for Iceland anyway) by interrupting the entire country for an hour – ‘Iceland Hour’ – and persuading people to tell their own stories. The campaign also included viral ads, Facebook pages and films featuring celebrities like Bjork, Damon Albarn and Stephen Fry.

Here’s a Gay Day in Reykjavik.

By the end of the first day 27 per cent of Icelanders had sent a video from the website to someone abroad and within two weeks of the start of ‘Inspired by Iceland’, over 85 per cent of Icelanders were aware of the campaign. It also gained over 45,000 fans on Facebook.

A special concert in Reykjavik was broadcast to 52 countries and the upshot was an extra 79,000 visitors to Iceland, not bad for a country with only 318,000 people.

Where did they put them all?

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