Combine a Tom Jones cardboard cutout, a 75th Birthday concert and Iceland’s top cruise sites and you get #ImetTominIceland viral campaign of course!
#IMetTominIceland online and offline campaign with Iceland Travel Cruise.
Using the power of social media, I helped a friend and colleague meet her idol Tom Jones: #ImetTominIceland.
Meet Liz, my good friend and colleague. Originally from Wales, she lives and raises her family in Iceland while working as the Manager of Cruise Services at Iceland Travel, the country’s largest tour operator. In May of this year Liz contacted me with the exciting news that Tom Jones, a fellow Welshman, would perform his 75th birthday concert in Iceland.
“I’m a superfan,” she confessed. I could relate. I’m an Elvis super-duper fan. Liz and I often bond over our mutual love of Elvis. But her excitement over Tom’s pending arrival to Iceland felt somehow bigger. Then she said something I never expected to hear from anyone, ever, “I bought a cardboard cutout of Tom Jones.” Stunned to silence, I gave no reply. Liz continued, “What can we do with it? I want to meet him!”
Truth be told, she had me at cardboard cutout. There’s definitely something funny about life-sized cardboard cutouts of real people. I think it’s their vulnerability and inability to do anything about where you place them.
Initially Liz wanted to bring Cardboard Tom to travel industry parties in Iceland for fun photo-sharing opportunities and came up with the clever hashtag, #ImetTominIceland.
I loved the hashtag…but I wanted to go bigger. What if we tied this idea to tourism so tweets would post from Iceland Travel’s @IcelandTravelTO account and capture a wider audience? So I suggested a campaign that combined Iceland’s photogenic nature, whimsical humor, Liz’s love for Iceland and a countdown to the upcoming concert. The rest, as they say, is history.
For 30 days Liz traveled around Iceland with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Jones, encouraging locals and visitors to have their picture taken and share something on social that they like about Iceland using the hashtag #ImetTominIceland.
Daily photos posted on Twitter were linked to a travel blog (blog.icelandtravel.is) documenting Liz’s journey. I ghost-wrote several of the blog entries and provided content filled with insider tips on Iceland’s attractions and embedded links to Iceland Travel’s packages relating to the daily blog topic.
To say that Liz is a trooper is an understatement. She dragged Cardboard Tom just about everywhere. Tom went whale watching, sat on stage with a local band, went to glaciers, waterfalls and even a geothermal spa.
Iceland is a small place and WOM spread quickly. Tom became a viral sensation and made the news in Iceland. Liz even garnered front row seats and a backstage pass from the concert venue, Laugardallsholl Arena.
Twenty-seven days into the campaign, Tom made contact. The REAL Tom Jones. His handle @RealSirTomJones is verified! Tom reached out with the tweet, “.@IcelandTravelTO love that I’m seeing so much of Iceland with my fans! Great pictures and some amazing sights can’t wait to perform there!” This was encouraging.
On the day of the concert we had no idea whether Liz would meet Tom or not but she was dressed to the nines and ready for anything. I attended the concert, which Sir Tom rocked, and enjoyed a birdseye view of Liz dancing her life away in the front row.
At one point Tom sang about Elvis and I lost it. I was thinking of Liz and I knew she would be thinking of me. I screamed at the stage…which at this point was littered with panties. The excitement was unbearable.
After the show I sprinted to our agreed meeting point, the Hilton Nordika Hotel across from the concert arena. When I saw Liz waiting in the lobby …her beaming smile said it all. She saw me, jumped up and screamed, “#ImetTominIceland!”