06 May Visit Essex and Big Wave PR Shortlisted for PRVA Dare Awards
Visit Essex, the county’s tourism body and Big Wave PR, a leading lifestyle and B2B PR agency, have received a joint shortlist at the PRCA Dare Awards (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 began apace and a new calendar and a pop-up gallery of Essex was launched. Fast forward to October 2020 and a new film dispelling so many Essex stereotypes gained its world premiere on BBC Breakfast and 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.
Lisa Bone, Strategic Tourism Manager, Visit Essex, explains: “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.”
The campaign was launched and developed by award-winning Colchester-based PR and marketing agency, Big Wave PR. Hilary Collins, Founder and Managing Director, Big Wave PR, claims the campaign was a career high. She says: “Our team members live in the county, and as PRs, getting to challenge the Essex stereotype was such as great opportunity, definitely a highpoint in our careers.”
She continued: “We’ve all experienced the Essex jokes, but I, like many others, love Essex and after travelling the world I decided to call it my home. We’re so glad the campaign has made people take a second look at Essex and we’re over the moon to have made the PRCA Dare awards shortlist.”
Visit Essex and Big Wave PR are the only finalists representing organisations from Essex and the Eastern region at the awards. The winners of the PRCA Dare Awards 2021 will be announced at a gala awards event on 1 July at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel, London.