Yorkshire and Leeds: The home of marketing & advertising

When you say marketing, you may think of London, Madison Avenue or Publicis Paris. Sure, these iconic marketing powerhouses have had a global impact on the industry. But what about the marketing genii that have come from elsewhere in the world? Here at OTB we’re proud of our Yorkshire roots, and that’s why this week we’re giving you a peak into the magical world of God’s Own County…

What’s so special about Yorkshire?

Hailed by its inhabitants and by people far and wide as God’s Own County, or perhaps even more audaciously God’s Own Country, Yorkshire is the biggest county in the United Kingdom and home to some 5.3 million people. Don’t know much about the place? Here are a few random Yorkshire facts to get you acquainted…

Last August the Huffington Post celebrated ‘Yorkshire Day’ with an article detailing fun facts beyond the realm of the iconic Yorkshire pudding. These included the fact that Yorkshire was home to the first ever football club back in 1857 in the form of Sheffield FC, and major brands Rowntree’s, Thornton’s and Terry’s have graced the world with their sweets and confectionary thanks to their Yorkshire roots.

Back in 2012, Yorkshire won a staggering seven gold, two silver and three bronzes medals in the London Olympics, meaning that if Yorkshire had entered as an independent country, it would have finished twelfth in the medal table! In 2013, Yorkshire was named as the European Travel Destination at the World Travel Awards, beating the likes of London, Berlin and Madrid to the top spot. And all this without even getting started on its iconic brands and fabulous marketing…

The only brand of tea…

This week Marketing Week announced that Yorkshire Tea, one of the best known brands to spring from our county, has been included in YouGov’s list of top 10 UK brands. According to Marketing Week, ‘YouGov BrandIndex measures the public’s perception of brands on a daily basis across a range of measures, including value, buzz and satisfaction’, with Yorkshire Tea taking 7th place on the list and becoming the only FMCG brand to place in the top 10.

This is in large part due to the commitment of Yorkshire Tea to becoming one of the biggest tea brands in the country, announcing a £5 million marketing campaign to make this target a reality. Head of brand marketing Kevin Sinfield told Marketing Week, ‘we wanted to focus on being exciting, funny and positive – which are traits we want to retain going forward.’ With the latest insights showing a 7% sales increase since their latest advert aired, it looks like Yorkshire Tea is on track for another great year.

Tour de France Yorkshire

Summer 2014 saw Yorkshire host the Grand Depart, the opening leg of the Tour de France which was watched by people around the world and drew an estimated 2.5 million people onto the streets of Yorkshire to cheer on the racers. Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme hailed Yorkshire’s Grand Depart as the “grandest” in the 111-year history of the race and was quoted by the BBC as saying ‘I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you to everyone in Yorkshire who has made this Grand Depart so very, very special.’

In an article by econsultancy, Yorkshire’s brands were among the biggest supporters and beneficiaries of the event. Among some of the favourite marketing moments was the Yorkshire Building Society’s stunt which saw a group of unwitting sheep dyed yellow for the race, with the images going viral on social media site Buzzfeed and national news outlets. Other creative marketing ideas included Leeds Bradford Airport’s virtual gaming app, which allowed mobile users to race virtually through the Yorkshire landscape and engage with the event online.

And if marketers were worried the hype surrounding the event would only last the summer, they will be pleasantly surprised to find that Le Tour fever has in fact stayed strong among the residents and marketers of Yorkshire. In only 102 days the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire will be getting under way, so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more marketing gems from the county…

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