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Fury has erupted over plans by Essex tourism chiefs to try and ditch the county’s Towie reputation after the council approved a £300,000 advert campaign to rebrand its image. 

Essex County Council are believed to have backed the taxpayer-funded campaign featuring scientists and chefs to try and shake off its links to the hit reality show. 

The adverts, set to be aired on Sky this year, will focus on the county’s history and culture rather than its impact on modern culture with ITV2‘s The Only Way Is Essex.

The campaign will showcase the county’s culture hotspots, including Manningtree, which is the self-proclaimed smallest town in England, Tiptree, which is the home of the world-famous jam, and Audley End house, one of the finest Jacobean houses in the UK.

But some locals have reacted to the campaign with fury, attacking tourism bosses who seem embarrassed by its reputation, with TOWIE‘s Amy Childs slamming it as a ‘waste of money’.  

She told The Sun‘As a county we have a reputation for looking good and looking after each other.

A £300,000 taxpayer-funded ad campaign launched by Essex County Council to shake-off its links to reality TV has been slammed by TOWIE's Amy Childs (pictured) as a waste of money

A £300,000 taxpayer-funded ad campaign launched by Essex County Council to shake-off its links to reality TV has been slammed by TOWIE's Amy Childs (pictured) as a waste of money

A £300,000 taxpayer-funded ad campaign launched by Essex County Council to shake-off its links to reality TV has been slammed by TOWIE’s Amy Childs (pictured) as a waste of money

Essex is known for reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex. Pictured: TOWIE stars Candy Jacobs, Jessica Wright, Sam Faiers, Amy Childs and Lauren Goodger in 2010

Essex is known for reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex. Pictured: TOWIE stars Candy Jacobs, Jessica Wright, Sam Faiers, Amy Childs and Lauren Goodger in 2010

Essex is known for reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex. Pictured: TOWIE stars Candy Jacobs, Jessica Wright, Sam Faiers, Amy Childs and Lauren Goodger in 2010

‘We’re not a community of vacuous airheads, we’re decent, hard-working people.’

Speaking about the vajazzle, a trend she helped to popularise on TOWIE, she insisted she has only had people ‘thanking’ her for bringing the ‘hidden beauty secret to the masses’.

The TV personality, 31, urged the council to spend £300,000 on ‘something that really matters’ rather than the ad campaign, which will focus on the historic area of Brentwood, Jacobean house Audley End House and other culture hotspots.

Meanwhile, S Club 7 singer, and Essex native, Jo O’Meara, 42, said she was ‘very proud’ to be from the county in southeast England.

She added: ‘There has always been a stigma attached to it [Essex], but if people visit Essex they would see just how green and beautiful it really is.’

Speaking about the promotional adverts, council tourism boss Lisa Bone said the new campaign will ‘challenge people’s preconceived views of how they see Essex on TV’.

Meanwhile, S Club 7 singer, and Essex native, Jo O'Meara (pictured), 42, said she was 'very proud' to be from the county in southeast England

Meanwhile, S Club 7 singer, and Essex native, Jo O'Meara (pictured), 42, said she was 'very proud' to be from the county in southeast England

Meanwhile, S Club 7 singer, and Essex native, Jo O’Meara (pictured), 42, said she was ‘very proud’ to be from the county in southeast England 

The ad campaign will focus on Essex's culture hotspots, including the historic area of Brentwood and the 17th century Jacobean house Audley End House (pictured)

The ad campaign will focus on Essex's culture hotspots, including the historic area of Brentwood and the 17th century Jacobean house Audley End House (pictured)

The ad campaign will focus on Essex’s culture hotspots, including the historic area of Brentwood and the 17th century Jacobean house Audley End House (pictured) 

She added: ‘There’s a lot of talk about the way Essex is depicted but unless we tell people what it’s really like, they’ll only have one impression.’

It is understood that the campaign will showcase the county’s 350-mile coastline and highlight its historic spots, including the 17th century Jacobean property Audley End House, haunted house Borley Rectory, Brentwood – where peasants started a revolt in 1381.

In a bid to shake-off its reality TV stereotypes, one promotional film will star Michelin-starred chefs and a scientist to promote the county in a new light, Echo News reported.

It is believed that council bosses will draw attention to Essex’s famed spots in the ads, including Manningtree, the self-proclaimed smallest town in England, Tiptree, the home of the world-famous jam, and Colchester, which claims to be the oldest recorded town in the country.

In a meeting on January 10, Ms Bone told the council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Policy and Scrutiny Committee that stereotypes needed to be challenged through effective marketing.

She said: ‘It’s very much about trying to challenge the stereotypes to get people to think about Essex in a slightly different way and much more than in the context of just visiting, but about positioning Essex because it’s a great place, not just to visit but also to live work and invest.’ 

Other strategies that have been launched to promote Essex include Gourmet Garden Trails, Make Memories Close to Home and hosting another Essex Big Weekend. 

MailOnline has contacted Essex County Council for further comment. 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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