Dive Into The Hague

By The Hague Marketing Bureau, 2018 Communication Strategy Finalist

The Hague offers a very high quality and diverse range of touristic attractions. However, when it comes to its image as a tourist destination, the city’s reputation can be seen as dull, formal or sometimes even boring. Research shows that once a visitor does decide to come to The Hague they are positively surprised. This gap between image and actual experience was the main reason for starting the international campaign 'Dive into The Hague'. The Hague is a city by the sea, with 11 kms of beach just 15 minutes from the historic city centre, but the fact that city and beach are indeed very close to each other is not well known. ‘Dive into The Hague’ was launched to increase the awareness of The Hague as a city by the sea. 

The celebration of 200 years of the seaside resort of Scheveningen that is a central theme for 2018 for The Hague. It was necessary to increase the awareness that Scheveningenis actually part of The Hague and worth a (repeat) visit. In the concept the team at The Hague literally brought the sea to the city by ‘filling up’ three iconic places with water. Three locations were selected that matched with the identity of The Hague: The Girl with a Pearl Earring in the Mauritshuis museum representing the top cultural offer in the city, The Hall of Knights representing the Royal identity & The Passage shopping arcade representing high-end retail. In the concept, a man and a women take a ‘dive’ into The Hague, ‘swimming’ through the above locations and rising out of the water at the Pier in Scheveningen at the end. The main objective was for 60% of people in The Netherlands to agree that The Hague is a city by the sea and to contribute to the city’s long term goals to raise the preference and consideration for The Hague as a Dutch city trip for Dutch tourists as well as international visitors.

Launching the concept

The team needed indoor locations, which made it difficult to fully capture the famous city icons. By early November 2017 the concept was ready and was launched by the Deputy Mayor at the Pier in Scheveningen. 200 residents of The Hague were invited for a dive into the (very cold) sea at night. The next day the commercial aired on national TV for the first time. 

As stated the main objective of the campaign was to change the image of The Hague as a tourist destination and raise the awareness as a city by the sea. The results were hugely positive– with The Hague seen as a city by the sea by 76% of the Dutch citizens surveyed (KPI was 60%). The cross-media campaign aired in the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Belgium and reached a total of 38 million potential (re)visitors of The Hague. Online results showed an increase in website visitors of 24% during the campaign period (November 2017 – March 2018) to a total of 969,393 unique visitors – 10% ahead of target. The increase of German visitors to denhaag.com truly stood out during the same period: +216%. KPIs for true views on YouTube and social media were exceeded by 700%, showing that people were attracted by what they saw and wanted to see more!

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