Steve Manser, Marketer, Cornwall Arts Marketing

I’m Steve Manser and I work here in Truro with Cornwall Arts Marketing – another Objective One project.

Although born in Northants, my family moved to Cornwall when I was 10 and I grew up and went to school in Truro.

After leaving college, I went away to study and, after getting a degree in business studies, worked with a variety of design and advertising agencies – for clients as diverse as Lego and Leeds Utd.

But in December 2001, I accepted a job with Cornwall Arts Marketing – partly because it gave me an opportunity to return to Cornwall but also because I saw CAM as an exciting and demanding project.

The arts contribution

What Objective One investment in projects like CAM is doing is, in part, helping keep our culture alive and vibrant so that it continues to enrich the lives of people here in Cornwall.

But it’s also giving visitors a chance to enjoy the Cornish culture and lifestyle – and using that regional distinctiveness as an aid to economic regeneration.

CAM recognises the fact that Cornwall’s distinct cultural identity and artistic heritage is a major draw for many people, both within the UK and internationally. Whether it’s the allure of our fishing villages tucked away in hidden coves, or the unique quality of West Cornwall’s light that influenced so much of the Newlyn School’s body of work, we owe much to our environment and the way of life it continues to define.

A report published only last week showed that the creative industries in Cornwall generate £100 million a year for Cornwall’s economy and employ some 8,600 people, which is almost 4% of the workforce and above the national average. In Penwith, that figure rises to 9%, indicating the value of the sector to West Cornwall’s economy in particular.

What we do is develop and implement promotional campaigns and a range of other activities that support the cultural and arts sector, so that we can use and develop that distinctiveness as a marketable product in its own right.

Find Yourself in Cornwall

One of our major campaigns is Find Yourself In Cornwall.

Because we realised that many people had outdated perceptions of Cornwall, we developed a major rebranding exercise to help bring Cornwall’s image bang up to date.

Recognising that simply promoting individual arts events and organisations isn’t enough, we realised that what we had to do was to sell the overall idea of the Cornish lifestyle if we were to compete with other destinations.

Cultural tourism

What we have come up with is a genuine cultural tourism campaign - about lifestyle, aspirations, choices and an alternative experience. The campaign draws on a number of themes, including those of food and the natural environment, so it is no accident that we have chosen to profile those today.

Rather than pitch Cornwall as a holiday destination, what we are doing through Find Yourself In Cornwall is establishing the brand for the county – selling the idea of a way of life.

Many people would love to share the culture and lifestyle of Cornwall. What we want to do is raise awareness of what we’ve got here and encourage visitors to come and spend some time – and money – with us.


The problem is that some people still think of Cornwall as it was several decades ago.

But that’s a misconception. The fact is there’s a buzz and a new energy about Cornwall these days.

We’ve got international artists living and performing here and a vibrant cultural scene encompassing everything from fine arts, music, historic buildings, food, drama etc, to the more informal, outdoor, often beach-orientated lifestyle.

Occupation Paddington

And we’re not just pushing that message here in Cornwall – we’ve also been taking it out of the county.

We knew that for maximum impact our message had to be delivered in innovative ways – which is why we took over Paddington Station in London for three days last month.

As far as we know, no-one has ever tried anything like Occupation Paddington before. What we did was take over the entire concourse and turn it into a market place for Cornwall.

We draped nine-metre long sails beneath the station roof, decorated the platforms with bright-coloured flags and used projections to beam images of Cornwall and campaign phrases onto the station’s walls and roof.

We had a classic 1950’s VW campervan parked inside the concourse, surrounded by plasma screens running a video loop showing examples of what Cornwall has to offer – from art, dance, music and theatre to food, surf and the coast.

Tapping in

Around 500,000 passengers pass through Paddington every week – many already heading west. What we wanted to do was tap into people’s senses and make them think about where they would prefer to be – on a London train station or enjoying a taste of Cornwall’s lifestyle and culture.

But there’s also a practical outcome. As well as targeting the hearts of potential visitors, we were also capturing names that we can use for further stages of their campaign.

The first pitch will be to mail-shot a fairly generic brochure, then follow that up with more specific and targeted information that will sell individual features of our culture and use it to really market Cornwall in a distinctive way.

Like what’s being done through Objective One with food and drink and the landscape and environment, we’re using Cornwall’s culture as another tool to market the region and aid its economic regeneration in a distinct and sustainable way. That’s the theme which underlines all of the displays your Royal Highness has seen today, and I hope we have demonstrated how each informs the other, linking the whole together.

By keeping Cornwall’s culture alive, enhancing our land-based industries and the environment, we are not only preserving these aspects of our lives and identity for future generations, we’re using them to bring new prosperity to the region – for the benefit of one and all.