M&C Saatchi Invites Brits to ‘Visit the Sets’

LOS ANGELES A U.S. Department of Commerce-sponsored campaign designed to lure British tourists to the United States launched across the U.K. last weekend, marking M&C Saatchi’s initial efforts to encourage foreign travel in this country.

Built around the tagline “You’ve seen the film, now visit the sets,” the campaign “leverages some of Hollywood’s most famous film clips to increase visitation,” said Huw Griffith, the Los Angeles independent agency’s chief executive officer and a native of Great Britain.

In a 50-second spot, a collage of city- and attraction-specific screen scenes includes clips from Maid in Manhattan, Viva Las Vegas, Miami Blues, L.A. Story, Grand Canyon and Chicago, among others.

“It’s showing the diversity and range of the United States as a travel destination,” Griffith said. Also produced as a 30-second, the commercials are accompanied by what Griffith described as “big, rousing, sort of cinematic music, created especially for the project.”

Spots conclude with M&C Saatchi’s trademark “simple call to action”—in this case, an on-screen link to the Department of Commerce’s SeeAmerica.com Web site. The 50-second spot will be mixed with 10-second add-ons promoting the campaign’s corporate sponsors.

Three print executions take a similar approach, attempting to capture the spirit of the U.S. via iconic stills from the movies Thelma and Louise, Blue Crush and Spiderman, again with the “Now visit the set” tag. These ads will appear in travel and trade publications, on billboards and as posters in the London underground.

Independent Walker, London, is overseeing media placement.

“We were extremely lucky,” said Griffith, who handled negotiations to use the film clips. “All the studios we talked to embraced the idea. Then we went to a large number of actors, who were all extremely supportive.”

The $6 million project, financed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, was introduced in England as a three-month pilot, Griffith said. Future versions of the campaign are expected to launch in U.S. “feeder” countries such as Germany, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

Because there isn’t “an official minister of tourism in the states,” this kind of movie-industry solicitation for a government-backed travel project hasn’t happened in the past, according to Griffith.

“It’s not like a normal endorsement,” he explained. “This is a commercial exercise for all of America.”