Like many places around the world, the city of Barcelona is dealing with global challenges and facing unprecedented issues. With an innovative, fractal approach to communication, the new movement for Barcelona aims to break away from the overexposed perception and one-sided story of the city, instead building a narrative based on individual stories coming together as a whole. Just as many individual acts build a community, an initiative that aims to highlight this plurality had to do so via the same means. A movement to improve the reputation of the city and bring about change had to emerge from the voices of the city speaking in unison, beyond the council or any other institution.
Act 1: Share Like Follow
Share Like Follow is the first part of the wider campaign, Always Barcelona, a sustained initiative announced by the Mayor of Barcelona and designed to empower citizens to reclaim and reinforce Barcelona’s reputation on the global stage. The first chapter starts with the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, 2018. The movement will reach different sectors of society at key calendar moments throughout the year, shedding light on the multi-faceted and dynamic nature of the city through a myriad of assets activated across multiple platforms.
A complex challenge
Friday evening, 19.30, the phone rang. Albert called Rafa immediately – the Barcelona Council of Digital Communication, of which they are both members, wanted to meet early on Monday morning. In close collaboration with some of the major agencies and institutions of Barcelona, we started to plan what was going to be one of our biggest, and most complex campaigns so far – and on a very tight schedule.
A city is not built on a single vision, it is formed of a series of individual acts, defined by the individuals and institutions that belong to it.
“We understand that cities like Barcelona should have their own voice – a voice beyond the council and other institutions. That’s why we developed a choral campaign. We wanted to start changing perceptions and reshaping Barcelona through liquid branding.”
Rafa Martínez, COO & Head of Brand Strategy at Folch and Executive producer at White Horse
We like, we share, we follow
As a shout out to today’s digital era, Share Like Follow emphasises the digital economy in which we find ourselves. We like, we share, we follow. With the city set to be in the spotlight again during major upcoming events, we needed to rethink the perception of the city. What do we –as citizens, immigrants, migrants and visitors– want to say?
By narrating Barcelona through the lives of its citizens, we claim back our city’s reputation. We uncover the real Barcelona.
To develop a newsworthy campaign, we had to break patterns and seek innovation. Inspired by feedback from La Mirada Imperfecta –a launch campaign for local media betevé– as well as by the intimate narratives of our in-house initiative Eldorado, we started to scope out some initial ideas. We decided to move away from the traditional campaign model, focusing on multiple assets adapted to a broad spectrum of platforms.
With a choral model we embrace the city’s vibrant culture, plurality and openness. We shed light on the fragmented and dynamic nature of Barcelona.
“One of the biggest challenges of the campaign was to create new systems of collaboration between agencies and collaborators.”
Elena Qureshi, Junior Studio Manager, Folch
A uterine city
Most cosmopolitan cities communicate boldness and superiority. We wanted to do the opposite, to foster a communication strategy based on an open and active city, a city that understands the community as an interrelation of individual acts and, as a result, the language and landscape of citizenship changes continuously. We therefore built a narrative system around the atomic element of a city: the citizen. Communication nowadays doesn’t need to be constrained in one voice, instead, we can generate a greater narrative that talks to each of us by taking into consideration the different people, countries, ideas, languages, desires and ambitions that makeup the whole.
A real, positive, and gentle city leadership in a fast growing world is only possible if every single citizen is involved, contributing their acts and ideas to the collective development.
Based on the Ars Combinatoria –a logical method described by Gottfried Leibniz in his De Arte Combinatoria and attributed to Ramon Llull– the creative strategy developed by Folch consists of a series of moments, each one corresponding metaphorically to one of the following digital actions: Share, Like, Follow.
Share Like Follow is the first of many acts. The calls to action are used metaphorically, underlining the everyday individual moments of the city.
Connecting the pieces
Working in collaboration with Broadcaster, Folch’s audiovisual offset company, White Horse, produced 40 scenes, in 4 days. The pieces connect with each other like a puzzle in a series of triads, each combination communicating the multiple voices of the city in unison.
A vibrant, dynamic city
To avoid the typical grandiose perception of the city, we shied away from open plans and skylines, instead opting for horizontal frames, proximity and everydayness. Through this series of mini videos we communicated the city in a warm, human way. Generating a perception of sincerity and universality, we conveyed a vibrant, dynamic city, breaking away from the Barcelona cliché.
“The whole campaign is like a puzzle. Each short piece had to be combinatorial with the other 39 pieces to create a coherent narrative network, one unified voice, from all the individual stories.”
Albert Folch, Creative Director and Founder at Folch and Executive producer at White Horse
Between two units
The first unit was assembled by White Horse, with Pol Gonzalez as director, alongside director of photography, Julietta Lutti, three producers, 2 assistant directors, camera assistants, electricians, stylists, hair and makeup artists, and runners. The second unit was assembled on a slightly smaller scale – making it possible to produce the crucial video assets.
Turning data into narratives
In order to add another layer of communication to the videos, we needed to develop some accompanying copy. Each of the messages was carefully curated from a series of data about the city collected from the Observatori de Barcelona Annual Report and targeted to a specific audience.
“Over the past two years, Barcelona has remained among the 6 best cities in the world in terms of quality of life.”
Source: Global Power Index 2017
Audience is key
The audiences were split into three groups – International attendees, Spanish and Catalan speakers (both local and national), and international people who did not attend the event. The idea for each phase of the events was to generate anticipation ahead of Mobile World Congress and reassure visitors that they are entering a safe, everyday environment. To increase visibility during the event and establish Barcelona’s reputation as an open, active and multicultural city. And finally, to reinforce the city’s reputation as a leader in creativity, innovation and talent, encouraging ambassadors and foreign investment after the event.
“Many times in communication we talk about giving a voice to a brand or in this case, to a city. But that would have been arrogant. Instead, we worked on another level, interpreting and analysing the diverse city voices and conveying them into a greater narrative.”
Vincenzo Angileri, Editorial Director & Strategist, Folch
Cross channel activation
The campaign was divided into three channels: Social, display and offline. The social channels include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. The display focused on mobile targeting and display advertising with banners in 4 different formats showing 15 second video clips. 3 media partners from National Press and 2 media partners from International Press supported these assets.
Through organic reach we created a trend using the hashtag #ShareLikeFollowBCN to coincide with the physical applications around the city. We curated ambassadors – a selection sourced in the workshops organised by Summa and Barcelona Activa. These ambassadors were selected from institutions belonging to the Barcelona brand, among them Sónar, FC Barcelona, universities, hospitals, markets and other important public services and institutions. With our guidance, they were asked to reinforce the voice of the city by sharing their vision of how Barcelona should be perceived.
“The challenge was to translate the moment of the user and how he or she was interacting with the city into a series of messages that would feel friendly, without bringing a brand campaign to mind.”
Angelina de Lucas, Paid Media Strategist, Folch
22 digital opis and a vinyl of 9 metres were set in the Terminal 1 at El Prat International Airport alongside 3 digital billboards along the highway from the airport to Barcelona centre. In the event venue, Fira Europa, there were 3 digital billboards, and a vinyl of 25 metres stood in Fira Europa station. In addition, we produced a myriad of offline adverts between mupis, opis and bus shelters, commercial signs and billboards of different formats placed in key locations around the city before, during and after the event.
“We offer the everyday Barcelona to its citizens and its visitors. The graphic language conveys that message for both audiences in an everyday, open manner.”
Raimon Guirado, Art Director and Senior Designer, Folch
Illumination on larger scale
We suggested that it would be a great addition to the campaign to greet the visitors arriving on a larger scale. The Torre Glòries, formerly known as Torre Agbar, was the answer. Suggesting to our client Metrovacesa, who’s in good relationship with the owner Merlin, that it would be a nice for the arrivals to glance out from the airplane window to see the tower lit.
“One challenge during the process was to find a common thread to explain and communicate everything, from strategic approach to final outcomes, in a way that reflected the nature of the campaign.”
Emmy Koski, Communication Director, Folch
The campaign was covered by a number of national media platforms, including Catalunyaexpress (15.4k UMV), La Vanguardia (20.6m UMV), VozLibre (70.3k UMV), Elconsorci (2.7k UMV), Barcelonasecreta (82.54k UMV), and Barcelonacatalonia, alongside printed articles in Expansion and La Vanguardia.
The City Reputation paid media campaign accumulates more than 18 million impressions in digital media after the specific phase during the 4 days of the MWC. Apart from the international and local media that are still active (+2.7 million additional impacts), 1.2 million geolocated impacts have also been achieved by attendees at the different venues linked to the event. The organic campaign, more focused on the local public, has 253k impressions (168K in phase 1 and 85k in phase 2) and 3,885 interactions. In addition, it adds 43k views of the audiovisual pieces, of which 34k correspond to the campaign phase 1 and 8.5k to the second phase. During the 4 days of the Mobile World Congress, 1,500 mentions have been generated around the #ShareLikeFollowBCN campaign hashtag and an indirect impact of 61 million users. The toll that has had the greatest impact has been that of FC Barcelona. The web communication platform www.always.barcelona has reached 8.3k visits, 3,400 of which are on the day of the TCC. Barcelona on February 28. In total, since the start of the campaign, 22,000 web visits have been recorded.
15% of users have interacted with the “Talk to us” section to expand information about Barcelona. The visitor profile of this phase has connected with the campaign from a mobile device (78%) and its origin has been mainly in Europe (70%): Spain (50%), United Kingdom (5%), France (5%) and Germany (4%). The American continent is in second place with 14% of visits, of which almost half come from the United States. Phase 3 starts with a more personalised campaign reminder and will continue 4 more weeks to keep the city of Barcelona in the international agenda.