Want to Attract Tourists? Point Out Their Ignorance

June 3, 2010 |  by admin  |  Advertising, Marketing  |  , , ,

I've never been a big fan of so-called "teaser" campaigns (campaigns that conceal their sponsor or misdirect the consumer to generate "buzz" leading up to the "big reveal").  I've simply never understood the logic of spending money to not tell consumers something.  But maybe I'm old fashioned that way.

In tourism circles, there's a growing trend toward destination branding efforts that bear a lot of similarities to teaser campaigns.  And I think I've figured out why.  Tourism officials receive the latest round of research that once again reveals "consumers know very little about your destination", pair that nugget up with the brilliant insight that today's travelers are looking for the unusual and exotic and voila: a decision is made to brand the destination on the strength of other peoples' ignorance.

El Paso, Texas, is the latest destination to jump on the nobody knows us bandwagon, with an effort that includes the tagline "You have no idea."

Earlier this year, Washington State came out with their own variation on the theme: SayWa!

Some destinations cut right to the chase and promise to surprise travelers.  With what, we're left to speculate, but trust them, there will be surprises!

Umm… is the idea that if people come to Sunderland and have a good time it will come as a surprise to everyone involved?

But my personal favourite has got to be the town of Surprise, Arizona.  When your name is a teaser in itself, where do you go when research still says no one cares enough to find out what the "surprise" in Surprise is?  Tell them you'll exceed their expectations (boldly ignoring the fact that non-one has any expectations of Surprise, Arizona).

I'd like to think that each of these destinations have something to recommend them.  In the increasingly competitive world of tourism, simply playing off consumer's ignorance seems like a rather weak strategy.

Note: We’ve re-published article as part of a series of the most popular pieces from our former blog (BrandCanadaBlog). We can’t promise all the links will work, and some of the references may be a bit dated, but we think the examples and insights are still valid.


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