Call Brussels promotes tourism through actual calls with locals!

Tourism in Brussels has been on decline during the past months, with the city’s reputation suffering from the linked terror plots by the media. That’s when the official Brussels tourism office decided to creatively promote the city, proving that the city is safe.

It was back in November when Brussels was facing a Level 4 alert and lockdown after the terrorist attack in Paris, with the country being portrayed by the international media as a dangerous war zone that tourists should avoid at all costs. This had a significant effect on the tourism, with people all over the world postponing their visit to Brussels.

Call Brussels promotes tourism through actual calls with locals!

‘Call Brussels’ is a campaign linked with the site, hoping to use the power of the Internet and the appeal of the live interaction as a way to let the local residents speak directly with the potential tourists. Three phone cabins have been placed in central places of Brussels (Mont des Arts,Place Flagey and near the newly-famous town hall of Molenbeek) with foreign tourists being encouraged to visit the site, pick the phone cabin of their choice and call a passer-by. Both tourists and local residents were happy to try out the experiment of the campaign, leading to numerous interesting conversations with people all over the world, mentioning to Belgians how they worry about their safety in case they visit Brussels.

Call Brussels promotes tourism through actual calls with locals!

The combination of the welcoming and reassuring citizens with the live camera close to the phone cabins managed to calm down the tourists, eliminating their concerns regarding the safety of the city.

In just 5 days, the ‘Call Brussels’ campaign counted 12,688 calls form 154 countries, proving that the idea was more than successful. What’s more, #callbrussels was spread on the Internet, boosting the city’s image again in the most authentic way, leading to more than 9 million impressions on social media.

Viewing the campaign from a marketer’s perspective, it is another proof that people are more open to real and genuine ‘reviews’ (residents’ perspective in that case) than direct promotional campaigns, feeling that this way they can trust the actual opinion more than any old-fashioned advertising. Think of it, a local’s point of view is more important than any poster, or video, deriving from a typical campaign by the tourism office, right?

The power of influence in marketing, whether it’s from friends or strangers, is stronger than ever on the Internet and #callbrussels certainly used the concept in the best possible way!


Advertising Agency: Air, Brussels, Belgium
Executive Creative Director: Eric Hollander
Creative Directors: Dieter de Ridder & Joeri Van Den Broeck
Creatives: Julien Scouze Riviezzo, Sébastien Stronghead Verliefde
Head of Digital Production: Greg Pin
Digital Project Manager: Maxime Van Santen
Account Manager: Daphné De le Vingne
Designer: Maxime Douillet
Producer: Bérengère Lurquin
Press Relations: Whyte – Eveline De Ridder, Arianne Goossens, Wim Lefebure
Media: Christine Jean / Initiative Belgium
Web Development: Globule Bleu
Engineers: Teken & Maak
Phone System: Aircall

Written by Tereza Litsa

Social media and content manager, blogging about social media and marketing.


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