Innovative social media campaign and evocative video reach millions of Rihanna’s fans with compelling images of the singer’s Caribbean home island
R&B superstar Rihanna really, really wants you to visit her native country of Barbados. And if indeed it’s true that sex sells, then this Caribbean nation should expect a strong bump in its tourism traffic in the coming year because Rihanna is heating up cyberspace with a YouTube video in which she skips on a deserted beach, rides a bicycle down a country lane and soaks in a very teeny red bikini. With her hit song “Diamond” lilting in the background, the singer ably demonstrates what just over a minute and a half of beautifully natural visual images and music can accomplish in delivering a message.
The video is just one part of a social media ad campaign launched by the Barbados Tourism Authority. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have a celebrity of Rihanna’s magnitude as the centerpiece. The campaign kicked off with the singer posting images via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (using the hashtag, #Barbados) directed at her massive fan base that includes 63 million followers on Facebook, 26 million on Twitter and nearly 3 million fans on Instagram. And let’s face it, those are not bad numbers to which to deliver a marketing message.
Not to mention that Rihanna is highly visible throughout other entertainment media, including a featured appearance on the most recent annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
To further sweeten the appeal, fans can go to the Facebook page for Visit Barbados to enter a competition to win Rihanna-related prizes.
“We are really pleased with how our campaign has combined heritage with innovation to differentiate Barbados,” says Petra Roach of the Barbados Tourism Authority. “As a girl, I remember how important and significant these locations were to me.”
Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, has always maintained strong ties with the island of her birth. This recent media effort is part of a recently signed three-year partnership between the singer and the Barbado’s Ministry of Tourism to exclusively promote travel to the country.
“I want each and every visitor to this beautiful island to experience what makes this destination different from all others, and this is the spirit and warmth of my fellow Barbadians,” Rihanna said after inking the agreement.
Furthering demonstrating her commitment to and love for her home island, Rihanna donated $1.75 million to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The gift was in commemoration of her grandmother who passed away in June.
“This was my way of giving back to Barbados, in a form of philanthropy, by assisting the QEH in its continued modernization program,” said Rihanna. “I believe this will have a huge impact on the people of Barbados. This was all done to save lives or at least extend them.”
For Barbados, the new campaign is intended to increase visitation that already exceeds half a million tourists annually. The island is known for its miles of white-sand beaches, but also for its funky nightlife and Caribbean vibe. The island’s Atlantic coast is legendary among surfers, but there are plenty of other outdoor activities that attract visitors. According to Fodor’s, Barbados is sophisticated, but diverse and welcoming: “Barbados is the ‘most British’ island in the Caribbean. Afternoon tea is a ritual, cricket is the national pastime (a passion, most admit), dressing for dinner is a firmly entrenched tradition, and bar patrons are as likely to order a Pimm’s Cup as a rum and Coke. And yet, Barbados is hardly stuffy – this is still the Caribbean, after all.”
With Rihanna’s assistance, it’s likely Barbados will soon find it has a growing number of new fans.