Filed under: Crap Campaigns In History
You’re a Norwegian destination – let’s call you Stavanger – and you’re looking for a way to tap into the lucrative tourist dollar.
You bring in a bunch of highly paid experts who talk to you about ‘unique selling propositions’ and ‘consumer benefits’.
You haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re saying but you like what they come back with …
“Stavanger is the perfect short break destination. Quite frankly, it’s the most spectacular short break destination”.
So far so good, you like how it sounds.
“But let me tell you why …” say’s the overpaid branding consultant, “… you see it’s the World’s most unspoilt travel destination”.
You sort of buy the justification, it’s one of those ambigious terms that means no one can really argue against such a statement … so with a strong proposition in your pocket, you go to your ad agency, carefully explain what you’re trying to convey.
“That’s absolutely brilliant …” say’s the agency CD/MD/CEO “… we will get on to it straight away.”
A week later they come back with an ad.
A print ad.
Before they reveal the picture, they read out the copy.
“FOR A SPECTACULAR SHORT BREAK, VISIT STAVANGER … THE WORLD’S MOST UNSPOILT TRAVEL DESTINATION”
You breathe a huge sigh of relief because they’ve taken your cues about what you want Stavanger to stand for quite literally and at the money this whole exercise is costing, you can’t afford any mistakes.
“But what about the picture?” you say with excitement bursting through your voice.
With a little cough, the CD walks up to the presentation stand and with great gusto, pulls back the cover to reveal the picture that will capture all these benefits in a single image …
What a shame the agency went and used an image that shows a rock with so many tourists on it that it doesn’t just look like the most spoilt travel destination on Earth, it looks like fucking Ibiza!
Putting aside that spending a truckload of cash to attract tourists to a place you say is ‘unspoilt’ is madness, the fact no one working on this campaign spotted the potential hypocrisy of their picture versus their message is tragic.
Sure, I am being a petty bastard, but I believe practicing what you preach is fucking important and that means understanding what you shouldn’t do as much as what you should.
I see way too much of this sort of thing … where the message and the visual don’t represent eachother, though to be honest, I see more stuff where the underlying idea doesn’t match what the brand has spent years saying it represented.
AXE in Australia, take a bow.
[Don’t worry, it’s not the wonderful folk at BBH who have fucked up, it’s – or at least it was – LOWES]
I don’t know if it’s laziness or stupidity or me being a cock, but it happens way too much and if we can’t get this sort of thing right … why the hell do we expect a client to trust us with how to build their brand.
OK, so sometimes the issue has nothing to do with the work, and all to do with how successful you’ve become.
I remember running some research for Lonely Planet and hearing a guy tell me how he’d taken the books advice to go to one of the most isolated bars on earth, only to find 3 other people there, all with a Lonely Planet in their hand. However that’s nothing like using a picture filled with people to promote your destination is unspoilt.
OK, so popularity doesn’t necessarily mean spoilt, but by the same token, it doesn’t make you immediately think you’re going to be surrounded by a fuckload of other people either.
So while I hope the people of Stavanger benefit from this campaign, I’d suggest that next time, they make sure their ad doesn’t attract the attention of pricks like me for all the wrong reasons or do a campaign that states to preserve the title of ‘most unspoilt place on earth’ they’ll put a limit on the number of people allowed to visit, at the very least it might create some urgency – or prestige – to visit.
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