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Marketing Highlights: Focus on Global Access

In 2023, the Vienna Tourist Board actively serviced 13 incoming markets with a marketing budget of EUR 11.22 million, an amount which already includes the EUR 1.15 million from the special budget of the City of Vienna earmarked for the development of the long-haul US market. In addition to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK, Spain, France and Italy, activities in 2023 centered on Canada, Arab countries, China, Japan and South Korea as well as the USA. In the long-haul segment, the focus of the department’s development work was on the USA, which is Vienna's highest-volume and highest-revenue overseas market.

UnArtificial Art: Vienna Targets the USA with Art, Cats and AI

In its UnArtificial Art campaign, the Vienna Tourist Board harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to draw attention to works of art by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele – the two most famous painters of Viennese Modernism. The core campaign images – both created using AI – delivered a self-deprecating new take on The Kiss (Klimt) and Self-Portrait with Physalis (Schiele) that referenced the omnipresent internet culture of cat-related content. Vienna’s clear message was “See the art behind AI art in Vienna”, which highlighted the fact that art generated by artificial intelligence always draws on existing art. UnArtificial Art was designed to inspired people to pay a visit to the real Vienna, where the original works of the two artists are on display. The AI images were shown on giant billboards in New York's Times Square and busy parts of Manhattan such as Chelsea and Columbus Circle, as well as at Millennium Park in Chicago and various subway stations in Washington D.C.. Throughout the campaign, the Vienna Tourist Board ran a short film on its YouTube channel and the art platforms Artnet and ArtNews, in which art educator Markus Hübl analyzed the actual Klimt and Schiele artworks behind the story, as well as Bruegel's Tower of Babel, comparing and contrasting the originals with their AI counterparts. As an additional measure, the Vienna Tourist Board invited various Viennese cultural institutions to participate in an action day on Instagram, in which various partners were given the opportunity to share AI-modified mages of their own architecture on their channels. The UnArtificial Art campaign generated a total of 122 million contacts (technical reach).

Vienna Tourist Board Shines a Light on the Real Empress Elisabeth

In "Sisi's New Portrait", the Vienna Tourist Board – working in partnership with the Sisi Museum, the Vienna Furniture Museum and the Hotel Imperial – took a closer look at the real Empress Elisabeth (aka Sisi) for the first time. To mark International Women's Day in March, a minimalist portrait by the Vienna Tourist Board featuring facts about Sisi was used to cover up the world's best-known portrait of the Empress – painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1865. The original is on display in the Sisi Museum, and replicas can be seen at the Vienna Furniture Museum and Hotel Imperial. The “cover piece ” outlined the achievements of Vienna's most iconic figure, showed what mattered most to her and homed in on what made her so special. It also took her slim waistline, elaborate hairstyles and magnificent dresses out of the spotlight for a change. The campaign message urged people to “Remember women for who they were. Not for what they looked like.” Composed entirely from text, the portrait was written in the form of a poem, reflecting Sisi's great passion: writing poetry. It portrayed a woman who was not afraid to stand up for herself or her beliefs in an era when society relegated women to a merely decorative role. The Vienna Tourist Board also showcased a number of other outstanding Viennese women to an international audience on its digital channels during the campaign. Sisi's New Portrait was covered by respected international media outlets including La Repubblica (Italy), Monocle (UK), Geo (Germany), Le Figaro (France), La Vanguardia (Spain) and Asahi Shimbun (Japan). In total, the campaign generated around 41 million worldwide contacts.

Michelin-Star Chef Lukas Mraz Presents Enticing Culinary Creations

The Vienna Tourist Board’s “Hungry for More” series delivered an authentic take on the capital’s culinary scene. The host – top international chef Lukas Mraz – set off on a voyage of discovery for all the senses as he explored Vienna's street food scene. From the city’s oldest sausage stand to the most modern Würstelstand in town: Mraz visited businesses handed down from one generation to the next, explained which side dishes are essential for the genuine “Viennese sushi” experience, sampled Pferdeleberkäse (bologna loaf made from horsemeat) and also showed that it is possible to put a new spin on established traditions. In episode two, this time accompanied by top Swiss chef Elif Oskan, the Michelin-starred chef went off in search of what is probably the most famous dish of all when it comes to Viennese cuisine: the Wiener Schnitzel. Their culinary tour took them from Hühnerparadies in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus to the traditional Gasthaus am Alsergrund – where “Gasthaus Champagne” is also on the menu. And in the third episode in the series, Mraz uncovered the secrets behind Vienna's most famous strudel – apple strudel. The final instalment also featured a baklava and burek tasting session.

The three episodes racked up a combined total of 860,000 contacts. Parallel to the series, the Vienna Tourist Board and Mraz launched the "Will it Schnitzel" challenge on TikTok which generated over 8 million views. This innovative media campaign focused on one of the most popular genres of them all on TikTok – food content – and played it all out in the UK, one of TikTok's strongest markets.

Sisi & Franz Leave the Tired Old Vienna Clichés Behind on Tinder

The Vienna Tourist Board’s “Fall in love with the real Vienna” campaign zeroed in on some of the biggest clichés on Tinder before taking an unexpected shift in direction. Using AI, it created pictures of Vienna's most famous imperial couple: Sisi and Franz. After matching with a single, instead of being offered a real date, users were given a link to a page containing tips on some of the lesser-known and most beautiful sides to the city that leave the tired old clichés behind. The campaign blew all of the usual Tinder benchmarks out of the water, generating over 130,000 matches in Germany, Italy and the UK.

"BAHÖ": the Vienna Tourist Board Podcast Where Opposites Attract

In 2023, the Vienna Tourist Board launched its new BAHÖ German-language podcast series, which ran to five episodes in its first year. The goal behind the half-hour podcast is to draw two Viennese originals out of their personal bubbles and get them to go below the surface and immerse themselves in contrasting worlds – with a healthy pinch of Viennese humor. According to the Vienna Tourist Board's visitor survey, around half of all the people who come to Vienna are repeat or regular visitors. BAHÖ gives these fans of the capital the opportunity to go on a deep dive and find out even more about this highly diverse city. So far, the podcast has had seven million contacts. Devised as a 360-degree media house product, BAHÖ is available at (German-only) in a multimedia format. Each episode is accompanied by a photo gallery and video trailer. Listeners can download and subscribe to BAHÖ wherever they get their podcasts.

Compact, Green, Cosmopolitan: Meet us in the extraordinary

Meeting Destination Vienna’s new image film highlighting the Austrian capital’s credentials as a congress destination launched in September. Titled “Meet us in the extraordinary”, it shows the impressive variety of meeting locations, while also showcasing Vienna’s other advantages as a green and inclusive city where everything is within easy reach, and where enjoyment and fine food also have an important role to play. By copy deadline, the film had been watched almost 10 million times across all channels.

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