Destination branding is both an entertaining and competitive facet of the tourism industry. In fact, some projections show that by 2020, tourism will be the largest global industry. Some countries or states already have tourism to thank as being the largest contributor to their gross national product.
Across the advertising spectrum, from TV and radio to out-of-home and digital media, music-laced images of white sand beaches, snow-topped mountains, and picturesque sunsets vie for our attention and dollars, promising the perfect escape from the doldrums of day-to-day life.
Overall, the commercials are formulaic in that they mainly feature sales-benefit models, show the features, explain the benefits, and close the sale. Thankfully, advertisers for the Bahamas have taken a fresh approach to branding and unleashed a second version of last year's popular campaign. It encourages travelers to take a long weekend and book an island getaway. The theme, "Bahama Fridays," is the brainchild of Phearcreative and for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. A dedicated Bahama Fridays Web site is featured for the effort as well.
You may remember last year's campaign, which centered on a fake company whose office manager declares Bahama Fridays in lieu of of casual Fridays. This year, the message is the same -- take a long weekend and go to the Bahamas -- but the executions use real people who show up at the office for internship interviews. They're met, of course, by employees dressed in beachwear, and a hidden camera records their reactions. The office manager, played by comedian Michael Terry, sits down with the prospective interns for an interview.
The interviews veer off course thanks to Terry, who makes absurd statements such as, "I really don't care about your qualifications. Our accounting guys know no accounting." He sets up the video by asking the rhetorical question, "How far would you go during an interview to land a job?" The interviews are available on YouTube.
In addition to YouTube, Bahama Fridays uses other social media sites to get the word out, including a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. The campaign revises "TGIF" to "TGIBF," adding Bahamas to the acronym. Finally, an element not included last year, is registration for a free trip; it's available through Sept. 30 and includes a four-night stay and airfare.
The campaign is refreshing and original, capitalizing on unique differentiation with a consistent theme delivered in creative yet brave executions. Bahama Fridays is a big improvement over the "Visit Destination" spots that have started to air as our thoughts turn toward summer and travel.