Can the new Disney Pixar film "Brave" boost Scotland's economy by £140 million (US$219 million)? Local tourism officials hope so.
The national tourism body, VisitScotland, launched its largest-ever global advertising campaign Monday in Los Angeles to coincide with the film's release. The organization will spend upwards of £7 million (US$11 million) on the project, making it one of the most expensive tourism marketing campaigns ever.
Walt Disney & Pixar Animation
Disney will release “Brave” in the U.S. on Friday and the film will then travel to 72 countries around the world.
Scotland's cinematic hits of the past -- the heroin-riddled dystopia of "Trainspotting" or the gory battlefields of "Braveheart," for example -- didn't quite have the marketing appeal of a Disney Pixar film.
"Brave" comes from the same studio known for such acclaimed films as "WALL-E", "Up" and "Toy Story," and tells the story of a young Highland princess who must undo a curse to save her kingdom -- a cheery enough tale for formulating a tourism campaign.
"The film is about changing your fate, and I believe it will change the fate of Scottish tourism in a significant and positive way," VisitScotland's Chairman Mike Cantlay said Monday.
Selling a destination based on an animated film may seem like a stretch, but the film's embellished and exaggerated Scottish landscapes were based on weeks of location work by Pixar artists.
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Disney releases "Brave" nationwide in the U.S. on Friday and the film subsequently is to open in 72 countries around the world. Cantlay believes the global audience offers a fine opportunity to market Scotland. The strategy also will allow VisitScotland to reach a younger demographic than the usual tourism market.
The campaign will showcase Scotland though TV and cinema ads, a new website and film-related events, and will reach some 80 million people in the UK and abroad, according to VisitScotland. The ads -- many of which will appear in cinemas before the film -- will interweave scenes from "Brave" with real-life scenes from Scotland and focus on the key themes of ancient Scotland, myths and legends, castles, landscapes and forests, clans and culture and wildlife and nature.
The United States is Scotland's biggest overseas market, and the number of American visitors increased by 15 percent last year. Capitalizing on the film, VisitScotland will air its first TV ad in North America in 10 years to lure even more visitors across the pond.
VisitScotland teamed up with Disney in March to jointly promote the film and destination across the world, marking the first time Disney has worked with a country's tourism organization on such a large scale.
"The launch of the new advert represents a pivotal moment in our campaign with Disney," Cantlay said Monday. "With the advert going live coast to coast, the hard-work can really begin by converting moviegoers and fans of 'Brave' into visitors to Scotland."