Actor Chris O’Dowd Tells Britons to Escape to Ireland

17 Jul 2012

With just ten days to go before the Olympic Games begin in London, Tourism Ireland today unveils the second phase of its ‘Escape the Madness’ campaign, highlighting the island of Ireland to Londoners as a hassle-free holiday option during and after the Games. Tourism Ireland has created a brand new short film featuring a cameo appearance and voice-over by Chris O’Dowd, star of The IT Crowd and Bridesmaids.

The film, which is expected to resonate with harassed Londoners who will share it with their social networks, is a humorous play on the congestion expected on London transport during the Games and the alternative on offer just a short journey away on the island of Ireland.

To view the film, click
The short film shows two friends in London who race each other to see whether it’s quicker for one friend to fly to Ireland for a pint or for the other to get from home to his office in central London and enjoy the first sip of his morning latte! We see one friend flying to Waterford and arriving in Dunmore East where he enjoys his pint, while the other endures a frustrating escapade involving packed buses, lost mini-cabs, battles with crowds to reach the tube and even a rickshaw! Guess which friend wins the challenge! Chris O’Dowd donated his service to Tourism Ireland to lend his support to this tourism drive, arising from a humorous Twitter engagement.

Phase two of the ‘Escape the Madness’ campaign is part of Tourism Ireland’s Olympics promotion in Britain this summer, and builds on previous print, online and outdoor advertising, to whet appetites for holidays and short breaks here. It is estimated that 18 million extra journeys will be taken on the London underground this summer*; Tourism Ireland is seizing this opportunity –  targeting hassled and weary Londoners – and presenting the island of Ireland as the ideal ‘escape’ destination not only during this busy time, but as a welcome antidote to stress at any time.

Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring said: “This is the latest stage in our €0.5 million advertising campaign to promote Ireland during the Olympics, and I’m delighted to say that it’s great fun. When Chris O’Dowd tweeted that he wanted to get involved in the campaign, Tourism Ireland jumped at the chance. This is a clever way of presenting Ireland as a great place to “Escape the Madness."

Speaking about the second phase of the ‘Escape the Madness’ campaign, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland said: “While the Olympics will be an exciting time for many Londoners, the increased demand on public transport with the mass influx of sports fans, athletes and media will not be for everyone. This summer’s Olympic Games present a unique opportunity to showcase the island of Ireland as a top destination which is on Great Britain’s doorstep. Tourism Ireland’s ‘Escape the Madness’ campaign is targeting Londoners by presenting the island of Ireland as the ideal ‘escape’ destination during this busy time.”

Commenting on the campaign, Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director said; “We are thrilled to have Chris O’Dowd feature in our film. Chris tweeted a request to become the voice of Tourism Ireland in Britain. We spotted that, exchanged tweets and told him that we would be happy to oblige! This humorous short film is the result of our collaboration and we hope it gets widely shared the length and breadth of Britain."

The ‘Escape the Madness’ film will be promoted through social media, and through an extensive PR and publicity campaign in Great Britain, creating awareness of some of the many great things to see and do in Ireland. Promotions on Facebook (Tourism Ireland has over 126,000 fans across GB) and Twitter (over 2,700 followers) will include a competition inviting people to ‘Escape the Madness’ (and win a holiday to Ireland).


Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland         
Tel: 087-685 9027

* between 27 July (the date of the opening ceremony) and 9 September (the date of the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games).

Notes to the editor
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland is one of the world’s leading tourist boards on social media with a global fan base of over 800,000 people on Facebook and 46,000 followers on Twitter.  This makes Ireland the third largest country on Facebook and the second largest on Twitter. 
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2011, attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.



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