Marketing Sheffield - The Outdoor City

Showcasing the best of the UK to the rest of the world

With one-third of its landscape lying in the Peak District National Park, Sheffield has always been known as the ‘Outdoor City’. From climbing to mountain biking, paddleboarding to canoeing, it’s one of the most active places to visit in the UK. Our challenge was to tell this story to thrillseekers who were starting to travel again after the pandemic.

Interpret + define

Sheffield’s brand 'The Outdoor City' was already well established. In collaboration with Visit England, Marketing Sheffield wanted to develop a short breaks campaign that focused on some of the higher energy outdoor activities while incorporating independent restaurants, retail, and cultural offerings. The stakeholders were keen to highlight that Sheffield isn't just about adrenaline-fuelled activities but is also a vibrant city to relax and spend time in with many parks, art galleries, food markets and museums.

Whilst there are plenty of cities that promise interesting attractions, very few are as well set up as Sheffield, with so much to do within a short proximity. Initially, the project was aimed at an international audience of active millennials, but in the wake of the pandemic, we wanted to broaden the offer to families, older couples, and groups of friends.

Imagine + Create

We decided to switch the emphasis from ‘adventure’ to ‘outdoor’ to encompass a greater range of activities to suit our wider audience. Our task was to show gentler aspects of outdoor city enjoyment, such as walking, woodland activities and people enjoying the meeting and eating spaces in the city.

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As video is now an essential tool in every marketing campaign, we knew it would be the perfect medium to reach potential visitors. Over a period of three days, we captured drone footage that shows the diverse landscape of the city, from Park Hill views to the Storrs Wood outside gallery.

The footage has been edited into a dynamic video that shows off the green spaces of Sheffield and their proximity to the city centre. The video was promoted on Marketing Sheffield’s website and social media accounts.

Rise + Shine

In the short term, our film helped to reinforce Sheffield’s appeal as the Outdoor City and attract more bookings. We helped engage a wide range of audience types, from older couples to young groups of friends, and signpost them to core leisure and tourism businesses operating across the city. It also provided Marketing Sheffield with a multi-purpose piece of content in a flexible format that would stand the test of time.

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2023, Sheffield was named as one of the best city break destinations in Europe, joining the likes of Marseille, Milan and Oslo. Timeout writer Daniel Dylan Wray said of the accolade, “A city once synonymous with coal-blackened buildings and industrial churn, Sheffield is now more familiar with another colour: green.”