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The United States of Awesome Possibilities!

by on December 7, 2011

So according to this article , the new slogan to promote the US tourism industry abroad is “The United States of Awesome Possibilities,” which, not to be crass, might just be the douchiest thing I have ever heard.

From the article:

“The campaign, set to launch next year, is the brainchild of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), a private-public partnership formed to encourage tourism, with a marketing budget of $200 million. The corporation calls the push “the first-ever coordinated global marketing effort dedicated to welcoming international travelers to the United States.”

The group said in a press release that the dots in the campaign’s logo, shown above, create a “21st-century brand” which “symboliz[es] the boundless possibilities of the U.S.,” as well as representing America’s “diversity.””

Oh, and they came up with an image too:

So are all those little dots the “boundless possibilities of the US?” Are the different colors of the dots the “diversity?” And that’s the best a giant marketing firm with a budget of $200 million could come up with?

This is a perfect example of using media incorrectly and of catering to the wrong crowd. Who outside of America really uses the word “awesome?” I’ve actually heard that it’s an irritating word, something Americans are mocked for. How unbelievably conceited does it sound to praise ourselves, in a time of debt and economic crisis, as the land of “awesome possibilities?” How is a collage of brightly colored dots (but not our country colors, oddly) supposed to attract interested foreigners to come visit our country? Give me three days and a free version of photoshop and I can make you a better image and slogan.

I think the question without an answer is, where did they go so wrong? These people are media professionals. How, HOW did they fail so badly with the simplest of marketing schemes?

On the flip side…

I’ve seen the “visit Iceland” posters all around the city. You know what I mean: “The best part of a trip to Paris is Iceland” or something like that. They’ve not only created really captivating images for their advertisements, but real, eye-catching incentives: a free stopover to or from Europe. I’m saying this as someone who never thought about Iceland a day in my life: I totally want to go! That is good advertising.

 

The point is, this is my last blog post. And taking an International Communication course is vital to being able to accurate communicate with people, both within and outside of your own culture. You learn to analyze and interpret and discuss how to use media to make a positive impact on the world around you. People over at CTP, take note. You need this class. (And to go to Iceland.)

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2 Comments
  1. John Jeff permalink

    The US attempt at developing a successful tourism campaign reminds me of similarly questionable campaigns. This week I blogged about Mexico’s “Taxi Project” ads that have been criticized for using candid camera style footage featuring American tourists returning from Mexico. It does not include quantifiable facts and figures relying exclusively upon opinion. Tourism experts have even expressed concern that Mexico is allocating funds toward promoting Mexico as a “safe” travel destination despite proof of the contrary. An expert I spoke with actually described the campaign as “putting a band-aid on a melanoma.” He also suggested that modeling Colombia’s tourism campaign AFTER settling internal conflict would be more lucrative….however, Colombia’s tourism slogan is “Colombia: The only risk is wanting to stay.”

    I’m not sure how I feel about that…

  2. This post immediately caught my eye because it reminds me of some of the research I did concerning nation-branding for my group’s project. Simon Anholt, one of the early pioneers in the “nation-branding” field, considers tourism to be an integral part of what makes up a “nation brand.” One of the things I am still trying to figure out is where public diplomacy ends and nation branding. I would stay this example falls more on the side of nation branding.

    I do agree with you being severely underwhelmed by this campaign to promote foreign tourism in the USA. When you go the “About Us” section of the website, you see that many of the leadership for this campaign come from the top advertising firms in the country. When you see what they came up with….it really leaves you wondering!

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