“Companies with poor communication can add up, but it will cost them to multiply, and the most normal thing is that they end up at risk of subtracting.”

Xavier Marcet “Dismantling mediocrity“. Chapter 5


Last March I had the opportunity to be on round-table with other tourism professionals in Terra Alta (Catalonia, Spain). I showed them experiences of successful cases that reveal that, in tourist communication, to add can easily lead to multiply.

Some of the cases that hit me most in recent years have to do with the communication of destinations. Specifically, Iceland seems to me an excellent example of narrative construction. Let us recall briefly the starting point of the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign. In spring 2010, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused the closure of airspace in northern Europe. Consequently, there were many affectations for the traffic of thousands of people throughout the continent. At that time, for a couple of years, Iceland was a recurring news to the media around the world due to the collapse of the two main commercial banks in the country.

The “Inspired by Iceland” campaign started in 2010, after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano was prepared by Inga Hlín Pálsdottir in just 10 days. Private agents brought extra boost to the campaign by talking about the resurgence of the country following the environmental calamities and bankruptcy of the main banks. 

Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir: Actually, that was the first time many companies joined forces. The campaign [Inspired by Iceland] was a source of pride for them. The government had invested so much money – more than we had intended to invest in a principle – that companies also decided to put the same amount of money. They felt as if that were their campaign”. 

“Inspired by Iceland” offered a slogan, a conceptual and narrative framework and the necessary guidelines for companies wishing to adhere to the communication stream. It became a navigation chart.

The video “Ask Gudmundur”, one of the “highlights” of the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign, portrayed with humor the supposed way of being of the Icelanders while showing some of the country’s dazzling landscapes.

Although “Ask Gudmundur” is a production of 2015, the humorous tone of the spot ended up influencing how to represent the country and its people, especially when broadcasters are Icelandic. The influences can be appreciated even after years, in pieces like the promotional spot of the Midgard hotel (2018), tourist establishment of the south of Iceland. The profile of the traveler who chooses Iceland as a tourist destination seems to have been thoroughly studied by the hotel team. It is a video that attacks not only local clichés but plays openly with the stereotype of “typically” family-friendly accommodation.

Additions and multiplications

The “Inspired by Iceland” campaign demonstrates that in destination communication campaigns it is mandatory to have an open and inclusive perspective – without losing ambition in any case – to be successful.

This pattern of action would have no other secret than defining an attractive and modulating playground for organizations that voluntarily decide to be part of a collective project.

As Head of the Terres Festival since 2017 I have collected enough experiences and learnings to confirm that adding is the right way to multiply.

Adding does not mean accumulating, but integrating. Open spaces, widen your own project to accommodate the different interests of those involved, creating the conditions for organizations to feel comfortable and find ecosystems to meet their communicative and marketing goals.

You need to build spacious and stimulating spaces because each agent involved in the project may have the need to give a particular emphasis on the communication of the event. The organizing team should not only provide its partners with a proven and reliable browsing chart; must build or facilitate the tools that allow the partners to make it possible: graphic content – from photos and infographics to videos in multiple formats. A reasoned and easy to follow schedule, a hashtag battery and agreed criteria of communication … in short, to generate a minimum common denominator that the partners take as theirs with determination and desire to widen it.

When a project arisen from a private company seeks the complicity of multiple agents, public and private, the required work is analogous to that of a studio that combines architecture and interior design.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels