This year will see a unique global marketing campaign to promote Scottish tourism. Disney-Pixar, the film company behind such modern classics as Toy Story, Wall-E and Monsters Inc will team up with VisitScotland for a series of promotions around the film Brave, due to premier in June 2012. Never before has the company collaborated with a nation’s tourist board on this scale.
Set in the Scottish Highlands and featuring lots of red-haired characters (no ethnic stereotyping there then!), Brave is about Merida, accomplished archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus. When she ignores an age-old custom sacred to the Scottish Lords, she accidentally brews up chaos in the kingdom. Cursed by an eccentric Witch, she ends up on a magical adventure where she encounters mythical creatures and lots of other scary stuff. As you would expect, it’s full kilts and bagpipes, breath-taking castles, majestic mountains and mysterious standing stones. Scottish vocal talents featured in the film include Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane.
VisitScotland’s Chairman, Mike Cantlay, seems gung-ho about the positive effects that Brave could have.
“This is an incredible opportunity to extend the reach of VisitScotland’s marketing activity across the world,” he said recently. “This film will be shown in more than 70 countries… and this gives us an unprecedented opportunity to put Scotland on the worldwide stage with a whole new audience.”
Whether a film set in a computer-generated Scotland, as opposed to the real thing, will provide the tourism boost that VisitScotland is hoping for remains to be seen. (Then again, much of Braveheart was shot in Ireland, which didn’t seem to matter too much.) None the less, promotional activities during summer 2012 will be on a big scale and will include joint TV and cinema advertising across the UK, North America and Europe, as well as a variety of events – including the film’s European premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Maybe some of London’s Olympic visitors might be tempted northwards? Fingers crossed…