ANIMATORS who worked on the Oscar-nominated film The Illusionist, which was made and set in Edinburgh, are creating a series of short films to help sell the capital around the world.
Their first promo video for the capital’s Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations, featuring a host of the city’s best known landmarks, is being launched tonight as a £300,000 campaign is unveiled.
An Edinburgh band, Stanley Odd, has also recorded a specially-written “street-poetry” rap inspired by the city for the 30-second advert, which is to be screened on TV across Scotland in the run-up to Christmas. Versions of the ad will also appear in print, radio commercials and on social networking sites.
It features a snow-peaked Scott Monument turning into a sky rocket, ice-skaters in Princes Street Gardens and the city’s Hogmanay fireworks.
Earlier this month it emerged that the city council had objected to the phrase “incredinburgh” being used at the heart of the campaign amid fears it would backfire on the city.
The council ploughs £1.2m into arms-length agency Marketing Edinburgh, which has instigated its first ever campaign since being set up last year.
Council leader Andrew Burns, whose deputy Steve Cardownie had led protests against “incredinburgh”, last night threw his weight behind the campaign.
Although “incredinburgh” is not being used in the new ad, several plays on the word Edinburgh are deployed, including “shophereinsteadinburgh” and “wintersaheadinburgh”.
A longer two-minute promo is also in preparation, which will be launched in the new year.
Lyrics featured on the Christmas ad - featuring animation hand-drawn by designers from the Dundee firm Ink - include “stick a battered hat on the snowman’s hedinburgh”, “window-shop round-the-clock through the A-to-Zed-inburgh” and “with the Michelin Kitchin to keep you well-fedinburgh”.
The same team of illustrators had joined forces with French director Sylvain Chomet who famously relocated his story about a struggling illusionist from the Czech Republic to Edinburgh after falling in love with Scotland’s capital.
Gerry Farrell, creative director at the Leith Agency, which was brought in by Marketing Edinburgh, said the success of The Illusionist’s animation had helped inspire the campaign.
He said: “Previous efforts to promote Edinburgh have been a bit stuffy and safe. We wanted to completely get away from all that and use animation rather than simple photography.”
Mr Farrell said the word “incredinburgh” had been belatedly added to the campaign and had merely been intended as a Twitter hashtag, which he has continued to use despite the council’s protests.
“We will always defend our work when it comes under attack,” he added. “The campaign has been seen by 46 different stakeholders who all liked it. It’s the first time we’ve ever had a round of applause for our work.”
Lucy Bird, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “This campaign is a fun and imaginative way of promoting Edinburgh over Christmas and Hogmanay.
“We wanted to get people talking and encourage them to think differently about the city.
“Edinburgh’s appeal isn’t just in its magnificent beauty and heritage; from our top-quality restaurants and nightlife, to original shopping and jam-packed programme of events, we’ve a whole range of incredibly exciting things taking place over winter. There’s nowhere else in the world quite like Edinburgh.”
Cllr Burns said: “Edinburgh is a multi-award winning destination which is rightly famous not just for its festivals and other events but also for its historic buildings, green spaces and the friendly welcome offered to visitors.
“This is true all year round, and the city has much to offer over the winter.
“Next year we will see how the campaign has met our economic targets before planning the next steps in ensuring the ongoing success of the city we all love.”
Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “We are delighted to support this campaign, which draws on all the city’s strengths with style and humour. Its look and feel reflects Edinburgh as a city with a very real sense of place, offering unique experiences in the resplendent setting of the World Heritage Site.”
The lyrics in full:
Winter in Edinburgh, breakfast in Bed-inburgh,
Stick a battered hat on the snowman’s hedinburgh .
Skaters make patterns in the Gardens on ice
Mulled wine, Christmas markets and sparkling lights
Window-shop round-the-clock through the A-to-Zed-inburgh
With the Michelin Kitchin to keep you well-fedinburgh
Dancing and song; street party ‘til dawn.
Did you hear what I Sedinburgh.
Spend your Winter in Edinburgh.