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Erna Low

Celebrating a company's rich history

Brief, January 2012: The company is a tour operator primarily selling ski holidays. It also is a property broker. In 2013, it marked the 80th anniversary since being created by the eponymous Erna Low. The commission was to write a biography and create video from existing film stock.

The idea was born out of a chat at a travel conference in 2011 in St Malo between Erna Low managing director Joanna Yellowlees-Bound and TP’s Steve Keenan, who was a guest speaker at the Association of British Tour Operators’ to France conference.

Erna had died a decade earlier and had left copious notes, diaries, photos – and a library of 8mm and 16mm films not viewed for decades. Joanna was keen to turn this collection into a memoire of her mentor in time for the anniversary.

This combined journalistic skills (researching, interviewing, writing, editing) in producing the book, and digital skills (scene selection, digitalizing and editing) to produce several videos for promo and social media use – including a premiere in October, 2012, of a 10-minute film and the book launch at the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill, London.

It was a brilliant exercise in using a travel company’s library to create content that not only reflected its longevity (and helped the firm stand out from the crowd) but also laid the basis for a year-long social media campaign.

If you are having a big anniversary, it is worth digging out the old photos and film, if available. But also asking your clients to help with their photos, diaries and memories. It shows you have history – and know your subject well.

“A huge thank you Steve and Mark for the large part you played last night (at The Coronet). Without conversation in St Malo, it would never have happened, and I will never forget that” – Joanna Yellowlees-Bound, md, Erna Low.