APCO Worldwide and its StrawberryFrog ad unit have won a unique competitive pitch to guide travel PR and marketing for Albania, the Southeastern European country on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea.

albaniaThe NATO country that is on a path to joining the European Union said it wants to move on from a negative image and held a global competition for the account, broadcasting the tourism marketing competition on TV that culminated with the APCO-StrawberryFrog win on May 16. APCO's pitch, titled "Albania, Go Your Own Way," beat four other finalists and includes creative, media relations, stakeholder outreach, digital and social media, as well as a short film competition.

The country said 110 companies pitched the competition, which was advised by UK PR guru Alistair Campbell, who also served as part of a seven-member jury. Finalists included second place Interface Tourism Group, MEC Medianetwork, CNN and third place Hemington.

Albanian tourism got a boost earlier this year when the country landed at No. 4 on the New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2014 list published in January, noting the Maryland-sized country combines the rugged beauty of Croatia with undiscovered ruins of Turkey or Greece. "We look forward to helping Albania deepen its connections with key audiences that will help the country as it continues to build a modern economy and a brighter future,” said APCO's president of international, Brad Staples.

APCO acquired StrawberryFrog in 2012.