Artwork depicting Shetland’s otters and puffins will soon be seen as far away as Poland and Italy thanks to giant promotional paintings on the sides of locally-based trucks.
The branding, which includes the “Pride of Place” logo, was instigated by tourist organisation Promote Shetland as a way of introducing the delights of the isles to a wider audience.
At present just one truck bears a depiction of a “friendly looking” otter among seaweed, with a slightly different version on either side. Two further trucks will soon feature other Shetland wildlife – one will portray puffins and the other will show seals – and more pictorial trucks are planned.
Promote Shetland boss Andy Steven said: “The concept of using trucks for branding has been around for a while, but when we set up Promote Shetland [last year] we had the opportunity to make it happen.”
At £3,500 per truck the venture is expensive, said Promote Shetland marketing executive Misa Hay, but the advertising is “very targeted and good value for money”.
Shetland Transport’s articulated vehicles with 45-ft trailers travel throughout the UK and are in Europe two or three times a week, according to the company’s managing director Hamish Balfour. They are regular visitors to Holland, Germany, France and Spain, delivering a wide range of goods which could be anything from Shetland salmon to whisky and seed potatoes from Scotland.
Mr Balfour said: “We’re delighted to be part of Promote Shetland’s new campaign, which we are sure will bring a lot of attention throughout UK and Europe.”
Mr Steven said: “The quirky and humorous otter theme is certainly an eye-catching one, and should be easily spotted on UK’s roads, not to mention throughout Europe.” He added that it was good to work with a local business “to do something for our mutual benefit”.
The preparation of the first truck to bear the Shetland brand was done by a company near Heathrow with a technique used for aircraft, and is the latest event in Promote Shetland’s 2010 campaign.
The tourist organisation, which started work last September with Andy Steven, formerly of VisitShetland, joining the team in November, has had an auspicious and exciting start to the year.
Their staff attended the Outdoors Show in Birmingham last week and teamed up with Simon King Wildlife and the Wildlife and Amateur Wildlife Filmmakers Network. This provided the “perfect opportunity” to launch Promote Shetland’s new-look Pocket Guide. The public’s response was “overwhelming”, said Mr Steven, and a large quantity of marketing material was distributed.
He said the new guide has a more intimate feel than most travel guides, being more like a personal travel journal. “Watercolour images and handwritten fonts with individual comments add to the impression that this isn’t a run of the mill publication but a lovingly crafted book that would make a special souvenir of any visit.”
Mrs Hay said: “The size and style of our new Pocket Guide is completely different from anything we’ve had in the past. Its delicate images and keepsake feel make it something to treasure. I’ll certainly be holding on to mine.”
A further boost to Shetland tourism was recently provided by Simon King’s Shetland Diaries on BBC 2, in which Mr King recounted his experiences of a year spent in the isles in all seasons. His book accompanying the series was also launched at the show.
The Shetland Diaries programme created huge interest in the isles up and down the country and added an extra buzz to Promote Shetland’s 2010 campaign, which will continue throughout the year with a host of new promotional initiatives.
Mr Steven said: “Shetland Transport and Simon King Wildlife have been invaluable in helping our organisation get off to a flying start. We all recognise that Shetland is a place worth shouting about and we are committed to working with Shetland’s ambassadors across all sectors to increase destination awareness. We will be undertaking a range of promotional work designed to let people know about Shetland’s reputation for quality, distinctiveness and integrity, with the aim of encouraging trade, talent, inward investment and tourism.”
The new pocket guide can be requested from www.shetland.org