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Criticism of Visit Suffolk's 'Curious County' campaign helped it achieve "remarkable" social media coverage


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

February 12, 2013 | 2 min read

Well, the saying does go that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. While Findus might not necessarily agree after this week’s events, tourism board Visit Suffolk has claimed it is reaping the benefits of a campaign that was blasted by critics thanks to social media discussions.

‘The Curious County’ campaign, launched on Tuesday 12 February, used illustrated characters to appeal to different groups, including families, couples and "empty nesters".

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley was quick to dub the slogan "idiotic and meaningless" when it was announced in October, while Suffolk MPs Dr Dan Poulter and Peter Aldous questioned why a 'curious' tag was used.

However, speaking on the campaign devised by Ipswich-based agency Condiment, Amanda Bond, brand manager at Visit Suffolk, said the criticism "propelled discussion.”

Bond told the BBC: "We reached 200,000 people on Twitter, which was remarkable,

"This campaign is about doing something different. It's not a traditional campaign and we have to stand out in the market place.”

She added: "We have a very detailed social media strategy in place. We're hoping to target nearly 22 million potential visitors."

Meanwhile, creative director at Condiment, Chris Waters, said the 'curious' term was "not intended to be derogatory".

"Myself and my business partner James are Suffolk lads," he said. "We love this county. It was intended to do its job and to raise the profile of Suffolk."

The campaign will run for 14 weeks and will be mainly based online, although 16,000 postcards will be added to copies of The Guardian sold in London in March.

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