This Quirky Campaign to Rename British Landmarks Boosted Chinese Visits 27%

Ogilvy effort won 3 PR Lions at Cannes

Would you be more likely to shop Savile Row if it were called "The Street for the Tall, Rich and Handsome"? Or maybe book a visit to Sherwood Forest if it were known as "The Forest of Chivalrous Thieves"?

Those were just a few of the names proposed by Chinese citizens in a U.K. tourism effort that won big at the Cannes Lions, taking home two gold PR Lions and one silver. According to the case study below, one major British airline reported a 27 percent increase in Chinese visits after the campaign launched.

"We wanted to reach directly to Chinese consumers with something that appealed to their fascination with nicknames, and the response was, quite frankly, remarkable," said Joss Croft, marketing director for VisitBritain. "Ogilvy & Mather's incredible creativity made them the perfect partner to help us achieve this goal."

All told, the effort generated 13,000 name suggestions over 10 weeks. Nearly 30 million Chinese watched the campaign's launch video, 2 million visited the microsite, and upward of 300 million were reached via mobile channels Weibo and WeChat.

The stakes for such a tourism campaign are quite high. Tourism officials expect Chinese spending in the U.K. to double by 2020, from 497 million pounds last year to more than a billion pounds.