Hall of Fame: 15 of the best place marketing and place branding campaigns

Over the years, we've been privileged to see some of the best and brightest of place marketing and place branding and place marketing campaigns from around the world, and with the 2020 Award winners now announced, we wanted to revisit this list and to update it with+ the 2020 campaigns that we just can't stop thinking about!


Checkout 247 - Visit Finland, 2018

Screenshot of the

Sometimes, the simplest idea is the most effective. And you can't get much simpler than a live-streaming of a grocery conveyor belt. On the eve of Finland's centenary independence celebration, the live-stream allowed a moment of togetherness for Finns to connect with people around the world to share the story of everyday life in Finland.

Love Cape Town neighbourhood series - Cape Town Tourism, 2017

When Cape Town Tourism needed to diversify their tourism arrivals, they turned to their locals. After all, who better to share the hot tips and hidden gems of a city? Thus was the Love Cape Town Neighbourhood Series born - a set of miniature tours highlighting the best and the brightest that Cape Town had to offer. As well as successfully encouraging tourists to venture slightly further off the beaten track, the campaign gave residents a chance to share their pride in their home town with the world.

Think sustainably - Helsinki Marketing, 2019

Advertisement for Meet 'Think Sustainably,' the world's first online service that enables making sustainable choices as easy as using an app - and so on brand for Helsinki's digital-first approach. Elegant, smart, and timely, the service drew global media attention, and has genuinely helped people to make changes to their lifestyle for the good of the planet,


Closed for maintenance, open for voluntourism - Visit Faroe Islands, 2019

In the spirit of honesty, it was hard to choose a single campaign from the Faroe Islands. In an arena of creative and innovative place marketing campaigns, the Faroe Islands consistently deliver clever, out-of-the-box thinking that awes and inspires. However, 2019's 'Closed for maintenance, open for voluntourism' campaign saw the Faroe Islands marry their imagination with an inventive response to over-tourism. (Remember the days when that was one of the major challenges facing tourism?) Tourists were limited to just 100 over a weekend in April - and for the privilege, they worked hand in hand with locals to repair damage done to popular tourist sites.

From "Come Back" to comeback - Discover Puerto Rico, 2018

Bringing tourism back to Puerto Rico - team photo

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico just days after Hurricane Irma had also struck the Island. Puerto Rico had to convince tourists that the best way to help was by visiting the Island – positioning tourism as a powerful tool for economic development. Their success is inspiring in and of itself - but as the world looks towards recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, their story is more important than ever.

Welcome to GREAT Britain - The GREAT Britain Campaign, 2016

Paddington is GREAT - image of Paddington Bear

Image courtesy of The Drum

The GREAT Britain campaign is a stunning example of collaborative partnerships at their very best. Leveraging Britain's soft power assets, the GREAT Britain campaign capitalised on national anniversaries (such as the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death) to bastions of both Britain's private and cultural sectors. The lesson? Reach deep into your culture and share it with the world - some times the very things you need are right at your fingertips.



Make Something Edmonton - Edmonton, 2016

For a generation, Edmonton had the worst reputation in Canada - despite the fact that the locals loved the city. They just had no way of articulating their story. But with a comprehensive place brand strategy, the city was able to turn its fortunes around. A true testament to the power that a clearly communicated place brand strategy can have on residents, tourists and businesses alike. 

My city, the city with soul - Visit Jackson, 2017

Music is the beating heart of Jackson's culture, so when they needed to revitalise their image for a younger demographic, that's where they started. And rather than retro-fitting an existing song for their campaign, they reached out to and up-and-coming artist, Adam "AJC" Collier, to write a song that captured the essence of the "City with Soul" as he understood it. The result is true tribute to the city's culture.

Take another look: Azerbaijan's country re-brand - Landor, 2019

Take another look - mountains in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan's 2019 re-brand challenged people to look again and discover the beauty and wonder of a country behind the stereotypes. The design identity parallels the contrasts of the country beautifully, and it's flexibility means the design can be adapted to any number of situations. And what's more, the bold vision has had real impact and changed perceptions of potential travellers across the globe.


Codenhagen Challenge - Copenhagen Capacity, 2018

Talent is one of the constant challenges for cities and nations. Copenhagen had a novel response to their talent requirements. Through a comprehensive influencer campaign, the city launched a series of coding challenges. As well as raising the profile of the city as a centre of tech innovation, the challenge gave Copenhagen access to a pool of engaged and talented IT professionals - all of whom had an interest in working in the city.

The hardest song in the world - Inspired by Iceland, 2018

We shout about this campaign a lot. But this is a list of our favourite place branding and place marketing campaigns, and it wouldn't be complete without Iceland's "Hardest Karaoke Song in the World." It's infectiously fun, and highlights the best of Icelandic culture and spirit. And the creative ambition paid off, with an overwhelmingly positive response and a reach of over 800 million impressions in the first year.

There's no nightlife in Utah - Visit Salt Lake City, 2018

There's nothing to do in Salt Lake campaign

In May 2017 one of players from the NBA playoff was asked if they'd prefer playing the L.A. Lakers or Utah Jazz and said, "The Lakers. There's no nightlife in Utah." A damning statement, but the Visit Salt Lake team, however, saw a fleeting opportunity. Their tongue-in-cheek video response shared some of the diverse highlights of the Salt Lake City nightlife - all under the headline "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" and the local community quickly caught on and began to share their own stories. Why do we love it? Because it shows that there's an opportunity in everything if you have the daring and creativity to seize it and make the moment your own.


Eindhoven - Eindhoven 365, 2018

The place branding strategy of Eindhoven is a long term project: to serve the community of Eindhoven, to create economic value and future-proof the city. But its true legacy is in the civic pride it has encouraged in its citizens. The versatile design can be found throughout the city - even on the residents as locals share the pride by having the design tattooed! 

Our brand essence - essential Costa Rica, 2019

Costa Rica's brand valuesThe Costa Rican place brand strategy is a holistic approach that shapes and directs all their actions with inter-institutional collaboration as the foundation of their efforts. Their journey from tourism brand to nation brand is inspiring, and with an ambitious decarbonisation plan by 2050, we're excited to see how their place brand can continue to provide resilience and direction.

Restart in Idanha - Bloom Consulting, 2018

Repositioning rural life in Idanha-a-Nova

In four decades, Idanha-a-Nova lost about 70% of its population, dropping from more than 35,000 residents to about 8,000. Along with this huge demographic problem, Idanha and the rural world faced a not inconsiderable set of negative perceptions about rurality and country life. They deserve a place on this list for their ambitious new positioning as an innovation hub for agri-tech, but they're also an amazing example of the impact a comprehensive place brand strategy can have: at the time of entering, the migratory balance was about to reach a positive level for the first time since the 1950s.

Purchase the 2020 Awards Showcase to access all the latest best practice case studies in place branding.

Related reading

Has the pandemic killed soft power?

The politics of space, culture, and placemaking on post-COVID place branding

The roadmap for sustainable recovery

Hall of fame: Best place branding and marketing campaigns

The place branding bookshelf

9 'Stay Home' campaigns that are rooted in place DNA


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