What do you think of when you think of Holland? Perhaps Amsterdam, bicycles and Van Gogh?
A video marketing campaign from the Holland Marketing Alliance (which includes the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Marketing, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) and Mustache Agency shows Americans that yes, the country might be known for some of those things, but they aren’t the only things that make Holland cool.
Holland. The Original Cool. was nominated for a 2016 Webby Award for Best Online Film/Video in the travel and adventure category and it aims to reshape Holland’s reputation in the U.S.—inspiring Americans to travel and see it for themselves.
What makes this campaign a standout?
It combines powerful imagery and focused storytelling to create compelling visual content audiences love to watch and share.
Take a look at the campaign’s recipe for success.
#1: A Sense of Humor
The videos hit a number of educational points for potential travelers thinking about visiting Holland, with a sense of humor.
The campaign’s hilarious host, Pim De Koel, talks to you as if he were your own personal tour guide – not the kind who leads tours for a real company, but the kind you wish you could meet by happenstance so he could give you all his secret insider’s tips.
#3: A Focus on Your Values
Most importantly, the videos are infused with the why. As we shared in our post, Video Marketing Tip: Put Your Customers’ Values in the Spotlight, people don’t connect with your brand, they connect with your brand’s values. Emotions are closely tied to buying habits, and video has a unique ability to inspire an emotional response. The video at the top of this post highlights the difference between sharing what your brand has to offer and why your audience should care. Showing you pictures of wooden shoes, windmills and Dutch art might catch your attention, but tapping into your passion for organic food, local design and green energy will motivate you to book a trip.
Libris Head of Marketing and Sales Jacco De Bruijn, who is Dutch, paid a visit to the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions team and here’s why the Holland Marketing Alliance chose to connect with their audience through video:
To show American travelers why Holland should be at the top of their travel lists, a video strategy was decided as the best medium to showcase the messages of the campaign while also providing an opportunity for shareable content. The key message concentrated on challenging American travelers’ perceptions of Holland by revealing what Holland uniquely offers – a centuries old fabric that vibes with what Americans currently consider cool. In short: what you (Americans) consider cool, we call Holland. Come visit!
Check out these two videos to see how Holland. The Original Cool. is winning the hearts (and travel miles) of American audiences:
Holland. The Original Cool. Episode 2: Can Cool Be Experienced?
Holland. The Original Cool. is all about showing American audiences Holland’s cool-factor, rather than just telling them about it. Let’s break down how this video hits that mark, and goes one step further to encourage you to travel to Holland and see it for yourself.
“Even though the internet can’t possibly convey the coolness of Holland, I’ll try and help you to see it our way,” Pim says during the video’s opening.
This sets the tone that you’ll be looking at Holland through the eyes of a local.
Next, Pim shows us some of Holland’s highlights through visuals, using footage of people biking around Holland’s landmarks and a map of Holland’s Michelin star restaurants.
“This is what it looks like to have more bicycles in the country than people,” Pim says.
Then, he tries to show us what those things feel like, using fast-paced video shot from unique angles, creating a first-person perspective. For a minute there, you really feel like you’re riding a bike on a busy city street…
But in the end, Pim reminds us that while this video let us see Holland’s cool-factor first hand, the only way to really experience it is to visit Holland. This subtle call-to-action fits seamlessly into the story. The video highlights the strengths of visual storytelling – admitting that this video is the next-best-thing to a visit. But it also recognizes that video can only go so far, and leaves you to realize that now the only way to experience Holland’s cool is to book a trip.
Artisans (Holland. The Original Cool.)
This video is particularly effective in conveying the core message of the campaign, “What you (Americans) call cool, we call Holland.”
It kicks off with a joke, where Pim makes fun of himself (and I have it from our inside source, Jacco, that this is the ultimate form of humor in Holland):
“Holland is a land of makers. I can make an appelflap disappear. And then, there are these guys, who make cool artisanal goods that you can find nowhere else.”
Then, the video shifts its focus to the makers – local artisans who are creating unique products, like wooden bikes and hand decorated Dutch tiles. The video cuts together shots of windmills and wooden shoes with images of the makers’ new products, drawing a connection between the Holland’s traditions and the innovative spirit of the Dutch people.
The voiceover and the visuals reinforce each other, as the makers share their pride in Holland’s history and their passion for creating something new.
“In the golden age, we could build ships faster than anyone on the planet. This lean-looking construction, you can probably see that in my work,” says one of the makers, whose craftmanship you can see in the photo of the wooden bike above.
As shots of the artisans making their products by hand roll by, one of the makers says, “People are more in the need for something that has a little bit of an origin. It’s something the world is asking for right now.”
This moment draws a direct connection between what Holland provides – goods created by people with passion and a strong sense of history – and what the rest of the world wants. These aren’t just bags, bikes and tiles, they are products with a personal story behind them. And Americans love that! Think Toms, Warby Parker, Etsy – it is certainly considered “cool” in America to buy a product in a way that helps you connect to another person. Remember, we are emotional beings, and we make buying decisions based on emotions.
Speaking of emotions, this video taps into your emotions by sharing the individual stories of these makers. They make it easy for you to connect with their values – creativity, freedom, energy.
“I want people to have the same pride in this bike as I have,” says one of the makers.
Then, in the last soundbite, the focus shifts from the makers to the audience.
“You are proud to design your own world,” says a maker. “You can let your voice come out in Holland.”
That last line packs a powerful punch. If you value freedom, the opportunity to be heard, the chance to design your own world, join us in Holland. A strong call-to-action aimed at the dreamer in everyone!
Holland. The Original Cool. demonstrates the power of strong visual storytelling. With compelling imagery and focused, emotional storytelling, the videos capture your attention and connect with your values. They help the Holland Marketing Alliance drive engagement and fulfill its mission. In fact, the campaign has garnered more than a million views since the launch in 2013, changing perceptions and encouraging people to visit Holland along the way. After the campaign’s success, including the 2016 Webby nomination, the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions says there is more to come for Holland.