The Singapore Tourism Board is not alone in producing controversial videos. We found a few others, some embarrassing, some downright silly and some inappropriate. Take your pick.
The 2010 Visit Denmark video featured a Danish woman, Karen, and her young son, August. A series of flashbacks showed Karen falling in love with August’s father when he visited Denmark. When his holiday ended, she was left carrying baby August.
The Danes, especially the lady folks, were outraged to be portrayed as “one-night stand junkies”. The video was taken down quickly.
In Toronto five years ago, there was a long garbage strike. To insist that they were not the capital of cesspool, the tourism board launched a tourism campaign called Toronto Never Smelled So Good.
The campaign neither resonated with locals nor visitors. It did, however, get everyone to Google ‘Toronto garbage strike’.
In Australia, the tourism board tried a wee bit too hard to be ‘outback Australian’ in its 2006 video.
A total of $180 million (Australian dollars) later, they ended up being banned in many countries that Australia wanted to attract tourists from.
The video started with a showy display of Australia, from kangaroos to beaches to sharks to fireworks in Sydney. Then the final shot showed a girl in bikini yelling: “Where the bloody hell are you?”
That was enough to kill the campaign.
In Philadelphia, the line ‘Philly’s more fun when you sleep over’ left more audience asleep than awake. The commercial lasted one minute. It was a gimmick to get tourists to stay the weekend at the state
The commercial featured a number of tourists walking around in pyjamas promoting zero-number of landmarks on the way.
In New Mexico, the tourism board took a huge risk and went with a story on aliens. There were rumours that aliens crash landed in New Mexico in 1947, but many persisted that it was just a weather balloon.
The video featured two aliens talking about New Mexico as “the best place in the Universe.” The video received mixed reviews. Geeks loved it. Some felt that the video lowered the standard (or sanity) of the state.
Subsequently they never aired the video in many world cities.
See, STB can relax and say: We are in similar company!