The Flanders Fields Post
Flanders Fields. A place to remember.
2014 – 2018 marks the centenary of the First World War. Visit Flanders wanted to commemorate this historical event on an international level to drive tourism to the WWI battlefields of Flanders Fields. A unique and differentiating campaign was necessary, because of the competition from other players such as museums and WWI organisations. The target group was 40+ year-olds with an interest in travelling, culture, history, gastronomy, Europe and WWI from UK, Ireland and Canada. We positioned Flanders Fields as the place in Europe where the story of WWI can be actively experienced.
We wanted to invite people to remember, reflect and visit this monumental period in history that WWI constitutes. So, we created a newspaper inspired by the historic Wiper Times produced by soldiers during the war and named after the soldier’s slang name for Ypres.
For one day, paperboys in vintage costumes distributed free editions of The Flanders Fields Post in six cities in UK, Ireland and Canada. With country specific content, the newspaper tells the story of WWI from multiple perspectives while also providing information on events, expositions, memorial sites and museums.
2014 marks 100 years since WWI started. This means that a lot of media and press will put the war back in the spotlight. We did not want to follow the mainstream narrative of describing WWI as something remote and forgotten. Instead, we wanted people to actively read up and reflect on the conflict.
Through the paperboy distribution and the tactile medium of the newspaper itself we wanted to create a short moment of remembrance. This moment would be further perpetuated by engaging the reader in true, emotional war stories and establishing Flanders Fields as a place to remember.
116,000 newspapers were produced. A call to action directed the target group to www.flandersfields1418.com, where the conversion to tourism could go further. Online, the effect was multiplied, as people could read and share the newspaper on the website. Website traffic went up by 400% and visitors spent more time on the site than ever before. Additionally, the newspaper distribution events created a buzz and got a lot of media attention. In the UK the action generated media value worth 260,000 GBP while in Canada we gained over 21 million media impressions.