Visit Essex, the county’s tourism body and Big Wave PR, a leading lifestyle and B2B PR agency, have received three joint category shortlists at the CIPR Pride Awards (Anglia, Thames and Chilterns) 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 challenge perceptions of the county. A Paralympian, women’s rally driver, novelists 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 were set-up, a new calendar and a pop-up gallery of Essex was launched, plus a hardworking media relations campaign created coverage on This Morning and across all national newspapers. Fast forward to October 2020 and a new film dispelling so many Essex stereotypes gained its world premiere on BBC Breakfast and has so far gained nearly 500,000 online views. In all the campaign provided over one billion opportunities to see and helped reposition Essex as a place to visit, live, study and invest.
The campaign has already won a PRCA Dare award and has now been shortlisted for best Consumer, Travel and Tourism and Not-for-Profit campaign at the CIPR Pride Awards. Lisa Bone, Strategic Tourism Manager, Visit Essex, is delighted with the shortlist. She says: “This is excellent recognition for our team. The perception of Essex, for many years, has been on people rather than place. We needed to confront stereotypes in a bold and tongue-in-cheek fashion before providing a new narrative. These industry accolades are a real boost to the team and help to highlight the work we’ve been doing.”
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, says the campaign was a career high: “Working on this campaign has definitely been a career high! All our team members at Big Wave PR live in the county and we’ve all faced the Essex girl jokes and stereotypes over the years; so we’re all passionate about dispelling the myths and showcasing real Essex.”
In early June Visit Essex and Big Wave PR were announced winners of the PRCA Dare Awards for their #ThisisEssex campaign, their win now takes them through to the national Grand Prix where the winners will be announced on the 12 October.
The winners of the CIPR Pride Awards will be announced at an online ceremony on the 5 October.