Visit Scotland’s £2m, 5-Year Ryder Cup 2014 Campaign

Like most major international events, the Ryder Cup linked with host nation’s national tourism organisation ‘Visit Scotland’ which ran an integrated multi-channel campaign that dovetailed neatly with its ongoing marketing programme and focused on positioning the country as the home of golf.


With the tournament watched live, in-person by around 250,000 spectators and a global TV audience of around 500 million in 183 different countries, the tourism outfit ran a £2m campaign which it hoped would ensure Scotland’s first Ryder Cup in 40 years left a lasting economic legacy for the country.


The objective was to scale up its existing golf tourism ‘Home Of Golf’ campaign in key international and domestic markets to deliver benefits for years to come by persuading those who have visited for the event to make a return visit to different parts of Scotland.


A rolling road show strand of VisitScotland’s campaign opened the initiative by visiting more than 50 golf tournaments around the world over the last five years.


Most of these were European Tour events at which the tourism outfit had access to exhibition space, hospitality and advertising.


One of the highlights of this long-term strategy saw VisitScotland deliver the biggest ever golf consumer presence in the USA at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah – with around 10,000 people visiting its exhibition space during the week of that Ryder Cup.


Back in September 2013 Visit Scotland launched a YouTube led social media campaign strand fronted by its own individual video guides to all the holes at Ryder Cup host course Gleneagles.



The campaign continued to evolve as the tournament itself grew closer.


The organisation rolled out a two-minute YouTube film called ‘Scotland The Home Of Golf: A Letter From The Pros’.



Well before the first tee-off, another element of this media partnership saw Visit Scotland and Sky Sports celebrate Perthshire hosting the 2014 tournament and positioning Scotland as the home of golf to millions of potential visitors to offer one lucky winner and three friends the chance to win the trip of a life time to the tournament.


This competition, which encouraged golf fans across the UK & Ireland to select their favourite Ryder Cup ‘Brilliant Moment’ in history, was promoted through a five minute promotional advert broadcast on Sky Sports from July to August and targeting prime golf audiences.



Additional supporting activity included direct emails, online banner adverts, dedicated website page, PR and social media.


Also in August, for one week only VisitScotland ran a media partnership with a set of local radio stations – Forth One, Clyde 1, Borders, West, WestSound, Tay, NorthSound and MFR – offering listeners a chance to win a Ryder Cup prize.
To encourage participation and inspire listeners to give golf a try, VisitScotland produced a five minute video of two well known local radio presenters, Boogie and Dingo – challenging one another to try a round of golf.



To further generate excitement and welcome visitors to Scotland prior to the Ryder Cup, August saw VisitScotland launch its biggest ever outdoor marketing campaign across Scotland’s travel network.


This strand of the campaign revolved around striking Scottish images coupled with quirky taglines.


The posters were placed in high profile sites across the country: including airports, railway stations, and road networks in order to try and inspire commuters and visitors alike.


As the tournament began, another key element of Visit Scotland’s campaign was its idents on Ryder Cup broadcaster Sky Sports.



The tourist outfit also set up special fan zones in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth – all of which also promote key attractions and sites around the country as well as allowing youngsters to try their hand at the sport.


On the course itself, VisitScotland  set up a temporary complex at the tented village at Gleneagles to lure in the Ryder Cup crowds, as well as some of the 2,000 accredited media.




Part of the campaign’s objective was to ensure that the tournament delivered a £100m to the Scottish economy.


‘Tourism is one of Scotland’s major industries and is the largest in terms of how many people are employed. Golf is an obvious target,’ said VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay.


‘If you want to come to the home of golf you have to come to Scotland. There are more golf courses per head of the population in Scotland than anywhere else in the world.’


Indeed, since 2002, VisitScotland has spent a minimum of £500,000 per year promoting Scotland as The Home of Golf to the key golfing markets of North America, Scandinavia, Germany and the UK and Ireland.


In addition to positioning Scotland as ‘The Home of Golf’ overseas, The Ryder Cup was also used by the organisation as a platform for the Scottish golf tourism industry and public sector organisations to create a more collaborative framework for the future.


This ‘Driving Forward Together’ concept is the first national strategy developed by both the golf tourism industry and the public sector working in partnership.


It continues beyond the Ryder Cup itself and extends to the The Open Championships in 2015 and 2016.


Indeed, the big picture aim is to make Scotland the world’s leading golf destination by 2020.




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