Piranha movie is not killer marketing for lake where it was filmed

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Aug 19 2010

A piece of L.A. lore says the town of Burbank, just outside Hollywood proper, is filled with giant crows that were left behind after filming of the original goth classic, The Crow. It's not true, of course, even though there are a lot of those massive black birds flying around the area. (They just like it here?) Lake Havasu, a resort on the Arizona/California border, is dealing with just such a myth right now, but it has slightly more serious implications for sun, fun and tourism. The intentionally over-the-top Piranha 3D, opening Friday, was filmed there, and with all that blood in the water, some folks suspect the easily recognizable lake really is home to man-eating fish. Nope. Three words: computer-generated images. "If you Google Lake Havasu, 'piranha' shows up," says a concerned city spokesman. Locals say the most dangerous creatures on the lake are actually the drunken boaters. See? Nothing to be afraid of here. Meanwhile, the cast of the throwback horror flick is "campaigning" for Oscar consideration in a FunnyOrDie clip (above) in such categories as "best gun-toting jet ski fight in a piranha-related film." Why not?

'We Built Sioux City' shows just how much Iowa towns can rock

Posted on Tue May 18 2010

The ever-accurate Wikipedia says that Sioux City, Iowa, was originally settled by Native Americans and visited by its first European, a French or Spanish fur trader, sometime before 1804, when Louis and Clark passed through. Wikipedia does note that Sioux City's rebirth was "built on a foundation of rock and roll," a claim bolstered by this video. "We Built Sioux City" appropriates Starship's "We Built This City," which Blender magazine named the worst song ever in 2004 (and was used previously in a Starbucks video aimed at boosting employee morale). Produced as a promotional video for an Iowa biking event whose route includes Sioux City, the video does present Sioux City as a place where pasty white people can rock out without fear. And why not? There's a lot going on. You can even ride a Zamboni around! If you have any doubts, stick around to the end, when Bret Michaels confirms that "Sioux City does rock" … to no less an interviewer than Joan Rivers.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Who wouldn't want to explore the Bowling Capital of the World?

Posted on Wed Jan 27 2010


An appendix item in the Textbook of Branding is the practice of christening a destination as the [fill in the blank] Capital of the World. This age-old tactic, perfected by tourism bureaus everywhere, wouldn't seem of much use to major brands—until you consider the cross-pollination possibilities. Case in point: Battle Creek, Mich., lays claim to being the Cereal Capital of the World because it's home to Kellogg's. But Kellogg's benefits nicely from this regional branding because it can siphon visitors over to its Cereal City USA interactive museum (which of course will tell you everything you want to know about Froot Loops and Special K). Avon, Ohio, happens to be the Duct Tape Capital of the World because it's home to Henkel Consumer Adhesives, maker of the Duck brand, which sponsors the Duct Tape Festival each year (and on Father's Day, no less.) Hartford, Conn., the Insurance Capital of the World, doesn't exactly draw millions of visitors to office towers of Aetna and Travelers, but it can use any boost it can get.
  Which brings us to Arlington, Texas. Just last month, the city proclaimed itself to be the Bowling Capital of the World. Is there some kind of bowling-industry link to Arlington? Well, you could say that.

Continue reading "Who wouldn't want to explore the Bowling Capital of the World?" »

Wild Things invade NYC in celebration of the Warner Bros. movie

Posted on Thu Oct 15 2009


In New York City, the Wild Things have come to town. In celebration of Friday's nationwide release of Where the Wild Things Are, NYC & Company (the city's official marketing, tourism and partnership organization) organized "Wild Things Week" in the Big Apple. It worked with Warner Bros. Pictures to promote the film via several "wild" events since Monday, including exhibits, celebrity appearances and other festivities. Greenwich Avenue and Christopher Street were renamed (for a day) as Maurice Sendak Way and Wild Things Way at the Greenwich Village intersection where they meet, in honor of the place where NYC native Sendak wrote the book on which the film is based. The celebratory wraps up tomorrow, as the city's wild things head to theaters without having had their supper, dressed in their crowns and wolf costumes.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Vegas.com performers decent on stage but suck at office jobs

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Performing in Vegas is a hard job. To prove this point, Vegas.com put some of Sin City's finest to work. The Blue Man Group is in charge of dry cleaning (I guess because they get blue paint on everything). Chippendales dancers and Nathan Burton Showgirls are elevator operators who can really push your buttons. Ventriloquist Terry Fator is manipulating cords in IT, and the Fab Four Live performs on-hold music, live. This is the crux of a new marketing campaign featuring "Vegas Experts Exposed" which launched this week. Thirty Vegas celebrities are seen working at Vegas.com to prove (to any who doubted) that the real Vegas.com employees are much better at their jobs. Seven videos (unscripted, they swear!) are being posted each week in October at Vegas.com/exposed, where viewers can vote for their favorites. On Nov. 2, the voting process begins again, as the top four finalists compete to be the champion video. The winner will be crowned Nov. 10. Voters are also entered into a sweepstakes to win, of course, win a trip to Vegas. It is unclear who will be waiting on them—the employees of Vegas.com or Charo and Carrot Top.

—Posted by Sarah Knapp

Something's rotten about this Denmark tourism video campaign

Posted on Tue Sep 15 2009

In what will no doubt go down as one of the most bizarre tourism campaigns ever, VisitDenmark is circulating a video showing what appears to be a mother seeking the father of her child. The woman, a pretty blonde who speaks excellent English, is shown with a baby on her lap making a plea to the father, an American who visited the country last year. The two apparently conceived the boy, named August, during a night of heavy drinking. She doesn't know the man's name, but is hoping he'll recognize her. Pretty crazy stuff, right? But it gets better. Mashable revealed, via a Danish newspaper, that the whole thing is a hoax created by VisitDenmark.com to somehow encourage more people to come to the country. Encourage? This seems like the sort of thing that would give any sexually active man second thoughts, to say the least. Read more about the campaign at Adland.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

'Perfect Getaway' sweepstakes will whisk you off to hell on earth

Posted on Wed Aug 5 2009

A lush island setting where a couple of newlyweds are stalked, terrorized, threatened and forced to fight for their lives. Hey, let's go there! Rogue Pictures doesn't present a very tourism-friendly picture of Kauai in A Perfect Getaway, an R-rated thriller that opens Friday. Gorgeous vistas, azure water ... and psycho killers on the loose! So, how about a sweepstakes that sends you and an unsuspecting loved one to that very place? Sound awesome? Hollywood studios have a long history of giving away trips to the exotic locales where films were shot, with luxury hotel, airline and travel-bureau partnerships. But it usually happens with rom-coms and other happily-ever-after fare, where everyone ends up hugging and laughing against a lovely sunset. Here's part of the description for A Perfect Getaway, which stars Milla Jovovich and Steve Zahn as the newly marrieds and Timothy Olyphant as Hot Shirtless Guy Who's Possibly a Baddie: "Paradise becomes hell on earth as a brutal battle for survival begins." Not likely to find that on Kauai's next travel poster. Bon voyage!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

10 ad campaigns that actually make you want to leave the house

Posted on Thu Jul 2 2009


Somehow, "Gettin' lucky in Kentucky" didn't make the list of the all-time top-10 travel campaigns, as chosen by Forbes. What kind of crazy oversight is that? Oh well, it was always more of an unofficial slogan for my home state anyway, better suited for cheap T-shirts than ads aimed at selling the Bluegrass State to the world. Forbes went with the iconic for the most part, with some new ads thrown in, picked by a panel of media and travel experts. They decided, not surprisingly, that the recently re-launched Las Vegas tagline, "What happens here stays here," is the best of the best. The rest? There's some nostalgia like, "Virginia is for lovers," which was obviously a much better choice than the original idea, "Virginia is for history lovers." Booooring. Also included: Paul Hogan's pre-Crocodile Dundee commercials for Australia telling us to "Put another shrimp on the barbie"; Alaska's bucket-list-inspired tagline, "B4UDIE," and the current music-infused "Incredible India." The piece includes a story about how desperately the travel industry is trying to court us for our scarce vacation dollars.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Las Vegas ads getting their raucous, unwholesome groove back

Posted on Thu Jun 18 2009

Montecarlo copy

Remember when Las Vegas was a family destination, full of wholesome clean fun for Mom, Dad, Jacob and Emily? Me neither. I do recall, though, the marketing in the '90s that attempted to convince the gullible among us that it was a smart idea to take the well-scrubbed clan to that sin-soaked playground in the desert. Glad those disingenuous days are gone. We're in the age of The Hangover, folks, where the No. 1 movie in America for two weeks running is all about going so overboard in Vegas that memory, liver function and grooms-to-be are lost in the scuffle. And some recent advertising for the city and one of its mega-hotels shows that ad agencies have given up the family-friendly ghost once and for all in favor of a message that's a lot closer to reality.
  A couple of print ads for the Monte Carlo don't want to tax your hedonistic brain with real French-lite words, so they phonetically spell out an invitation for you to toss caution and your underpants to the wind. Go ahead, they say, get liquored up and do outrageous things! Worry about YouTube later. (Hat tip to Gawker for pointing these out.) Meanwhile, R&R Partners, no strangers to the real heartbeat of the city, created the iconic "What happens in Vegas" campaign. Their current work for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority encourages lying to your boss so you can enjoy a long weekend of (fill in depraved activity here) in Sin City. At least there's no pretense. Let the hard partying begin.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Barbados tourism promising good weather or your money back

Posted on Thu May 7 2009


People still aren't traveling much, and tourist destinations are still bending over backwards to attract visitors. But this might be a first: The Caribbean island of Barbados is guaranteeing good weather, and they'll pay you cash if you don't get it. As part of its new Perfect Weather Guarantee, Barbados will give tourists $100 for any day the temperature falls below an average of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and it rains more than a quarter-inch. (Check the Web site for extensive legal copy before booking, you thrifty ones). So far, this is the most desperate incentive we have seen for travel, but who knows, maybe other destinations follow suit with their own good-weather guarantees. Seattle might want to hold off for now.

—Posted by Yana Polikarpov



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