In recent years, Egypt was negatively attacked in international news positioning it as an unsafe destination. Mindshare's challenge was to create more positive and enriching stories and experiences from Egypt in order to drown out the perception that Egypt is an unsafe destination.
Although safety affects the decision making of travellers; one thing that tempts and inspires them to go travelling is witnessing individuals’ stories that bring out the adventurer/explorer side in true travellers. They remind travellers of the wealth of unique experiences out there and easily encourage them to try them themselves.
Egypt is a land like no other; it offers every and any experience a traveller might look for; from ancient culture found nowhere else in the world like the lure of the pyramids to sunny days all year round for the beach fanatics and deep sea divers.
International platforms have been focusing on the political events happening in the Middle East and Egypt, hugely affecting Egypt’s image in the eye of its admirers. The same type of PR was reflected on internet platforms, when consumers search for Egypt, all the results displayed are either political news or of past events; making Egypt synonymous to INSECURITY & TERRORISM.
Therefore Mindshare's strategy was designed behind creating believable and relatable content vs. pushed advertising to combat the negative perception that has been affecting the country's position on the international scene and to showcase the local Egyptian experience.
The campaign's key communication pillars to achieve this aim were User Generated Content from crowdsourcing, Storytelling & Travel Influencers.
The agency followed an inside-out approach by giving the Egyptian youth the freedom to express to the world how they view Egypt through the #thisisegypt. The hashtag became the platform where Egyptians have a voice to freely present their perspective on the authentic experiences; it became a movement where they shared photos/videos on their social handles.
Then it was time to directly combat the negative connotations and to focus on addressing Egypt’s image on the international PR platform. First, it turned to the top global news network CNN which created solid content that showed the authenticities and renovations taking place in Cairo the exact spot where the revolution triggered.
Then it partnered with Discovery Network & National Geographic where they shot content showing locals expressing their passions to the country through their career choices and then later reflecting how expats living in Egypt go about their daily routine in a healthy environment.
To tap into the Millennials world, key travel influencers were invited to explore the diverse destinations of Egypt and share their experiences with their thousands of followers, thus enhancing the “appetite” for Egypt.
#thisisegeypt was the seamless kick-off that amplified the voice of Egyptians to the world. The crowd-sourced content reached over 551 million impressions (Source: Facebook) Moreover, travellers had the chance to communicate their differentiated journeys whether it’s an adventure in the desert, a relaxing scenery or sport by the beach; each one of them were able to tell their side of the story complementing Egypt’s image and saying This is Egypt!
CNN content captured the emerging cultural hub, called “Downtown Cairo”, reaching over 14 million views (source: CNN). It narrated the new architectural restorations taking place to preserve the authenticities of Downtown Cairo while highlighting the cultural aspect and the gatherings that were happening; presenting it as one of the spots you MUST stop by while you’re visiting.
With National Geographic & Discovery Channel, the content showed locals and expats from different whereabouts in Egypt reflecting on their journey. One piece of content captured two Egyptian DJs claiming that Egypt is a diversified country and more than just “The Pyramids & the Pharaohs” while another featured an expat Entrepreneur living in Gouna; claiming it is the “perfect place for entrepreneurs.” The content reached 176.5 million views on Discovery and 10.4 million views on National Geographic.
Lastly, Mindshare adopted the Travel Influencers idea by inviting key influential Millennials’ on social media to explore the diverse destinations of Egypt and share their experiences with their thousands of followers and thus enhancing the “appetite” for Egypt; reaching 3.8 million on Instagram platform alone worth $6m in FREE advertising.
- The #thisisegypt generated 551 million impressions. (Facebook)
- CNN content reached 14 million views.
- Following the success of the campaign, CNN developed an organic content that promotes Egypt as a preferred destination in the middle east achieving four million absolute viewership (CNN)
- National Geographic reached 10.4 million views (National Geographic)
- Discovery Channel reached 176.5 million views and a CTR of 6% beyond 0.4% benchmark. (People meter, Discovery Network)
- Travel influencers reaching 3.8 million followers and 1.2 million positive engagements worth $6,000,000 in free advertising (Instagram)
- Total organic searches on Egypt increased by 250% on Expedia (Expedia)
- The campaign managed to decrease the drop in inbound from -52% in mid-2016 vs. 2015 to -36% for the second half of 2016 vs. same time in 2015 (Egypt Tourism Authority).
o GCC inbound increased by 28%
o China inbound increased by 56%
o Japan inbound increased by 15%
o Ukraine inbound increased by 17%;
o Germany inbound increased by 69% in winter vs. fall
o Italy inbound increased by 14% in November vs. September
o USA inbound increased by 12%.