Visit Essex, the county’s tourism body and Big Wave PR, a leading lifestyle and B2B PR agency, have won a PRCA Dare Award (South East) for #ThisisEssex, a campaign which challenges the Essex stereotype.
#ThisisEssex was launched in the autumn of 2019 and encouraged the people of Essex to step forward and showcase the real stars of the county. Novelists, an oysterman, chefs and a comedian, amongst many others, stepped forward including best-selling novelist, Martina Cole and Michelin star chefs, the Galvin Brothers. Photo and film shoots took place and a promotional calendar and a pop-up gallery of Essex was launched. Fast forward to October 2020 and a new film dispelling the Essex stereotypes was launched and gained its world premiere on BBC Breakfast. Since then the film has gained nearly 500,000 views. Thanks to the ongoing media campaign, #ThisisEssex has provided over one billion opportunities to see and has helped reposition Essex as a place to visit, live, study and invest.
Lisa Bone, Strategic Tourism Manager, Visit Essex, explains: “We are so delighted to win this award, we were up against many other local authorities and competition was fierce, so it’s great that we walked off with the top prize!
She continued: “Our campaign really helped to instil pride into the people of Essex and make those from outside of the county take a second look at our people and places. We’re extremely proud of what Essex has to offer and will continue to highlight the amazing personalities, visitor attractions, landscapes, plus towns and city that make Essex extraordinary.”
The campaign was launched and developed by award-winning Essex-based PR and marketing agency, Big Wave PR. Hilary Collins, Founder and Managing Director, Big Wave PR, is over the moon about the award win. She says: “This is the icing on the cake! All of our team members are from Essex and challenging the stereotype has been a project we all passionately believed in. We’re delighted to walk off with this top accolade, it’s been a lot of hard work, creativity and dedication, but the results have been outstanding.”
Visit Essex and Big Wave PR were the only finalists representing organisations from Essex and the Eastern region at the awards. The awards were due to be held at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel, London on 1 July, but due to current restrictions were held online.