Tag Archives: taglines

Around the world in 44 tourism slogans

Earlier I posted my bemusement about tourism taglines. There is probably some kind of data curve to measure the success of these. But after overdosing on one after the other at World Travel Market at London’s Excel recently, I have a few thoughts.

First of all, here’s the slideshow of WTM taglines: ‘Around the world in 44 marketing slogans’. UPDATE: I returned to WTM in November 2012 and collected 105 tourism slogans from around the world #WTM12 – though this post is probably a better read!

You can also see/download the individual pictures from my WTM Flickr set (non-commercial Creative Commons license).

And here’s my earlier post on tourism taglines being the emperor’s new clothes in a web 2.0 world.

If you can’t be bothered looking through the images, here’s the breakdown on the great and the good, the incomprehensible and the forgettable – the full list follows at the end.

The ‘no idea what that tourism slogan means’ section

Certain countries were adept at being vague as a means to sell their destination:
Anguilla Feeling is Believing
Florida Keys Come As You Are
Hungary A Love for Life
Taiwan Touch Your Heart

My favourite though was ‘Indonesia: Admit It You Love It’. Luckily I do love Indonesia and happily admit it, but what does this mean? I quite liked its ‘Unity in Diversity’ slogan a couple of years back – which sums up Indonesia’s 17,000 islands but perhaps doesn’t sound particularly attractive to a tourist. As the Jakarta Post reports, it doesn’t have a great track record in coming up with the marketing goods. In 2008 it was also ridiculed for getting its grammatical knickers in a twist with ‘Celebrating 100 Years of Nation’s Awakening’. Still, don’t let the terrible taglines put you off – Indonesia is an amazing country to visit.

One-word wonders
These countires tried to encapsulate their country in a single word – or in Malaysia’s case, a number (one, obviously!):
Brazil Sensational!
Incredible India
Cool Japan
WOW Philippines
Uniquely Singapore
Amazing Thailand
1 Malaysia

My personal favourite in this section is: ‘El Salvador Impressive!’

El Salvador Impressive!

Double headers
With all the main superlatives gone, Italy and Germany both went for two-word slogans – neither particularly enticing, though affordable may successfully tap into the economic downturn affecting the travel industry:

Italy Much More
Germany Affordable Hospitality

Mother nature sells herself
The most successful slogans are often ones that evoke the place in some way. Countries blessed by mother nature seemed to have the easiest sell.
Montenegro Wild Beauty
New Zealand 100% Pure
Switzerland Get Natural
Belize Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret

Come here!
Then there are the literal commands to visit – no inducement given:
Visit Florida
Discover Peru

Do these actually work? At least ‘discover’ hints at hidden depths, but ‘visit’, come on Florida, that’s just plain lazy.

Neighbouring factions
There seemed to be some competition between neighbouring countries also:

Albania A New Mediterranean
Croatia The Mediterranean As it Once Was

Namibia Land of Contrasts
Tanzania Land of Kilimanjaro Zanzibar and the Serengeti

Finding the pun within
Being a sub-editor, I respond to a good pun or wordplay – and successful slogans are often annoyingly memorable in this way. Personal favourites here included Jamaica’s mysterious rhyme of  ‘Once You Go, You Know’. Know what exactly? I don’t know but I’m fairly sure it’s hot, happy and hedonistic.

And full marks to Slovenia, for finding the love within and being the only one to evoke Donna Summer’s disco classic in ‘I feel sLOVEnia’. Surely there are more here: for the smut factor, have a play with Aruba, Virginia and Malaysia.

Slovenia I feel love

Tips for a good tourism slogan

In light of the amount for knocking that tourist boards get for their marketing slogan attempts, if you’re a destination marketer, then maybe check out this How Stuff Works post on How ad slogans work before you shell out a fortune on rebranding.

The full list
Here’s the full list – of the slogans I managed to snap anyway (feel free to add more in the comments). And if it all gets too much to bear, I promise a very enticing tourism slogan awaits right at the bottom:

Albania A New Mediterranean
Anguilla Feeling is Believing
Aruba One Happy Island
Belize Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret
Brazil Sensational!
California Find Yourself Here
Canada Keep Exploring
Croatia The Mediterranean As it Once Was
Ecuador Life at its Purest
Viva Cuba
Egypt Where It All Begins
El Salvador Impressive!
Visit Finland Breathe
Visit Florida
Florida Keys Come As You Are
France Rendez-Vouse En France
Germany Affordable Hospitality
Grenada Rhythms of Spice
Hong Kong Best Place Best Taste
Hungary A Love for Life
I heart New York
Incredible India
Indonesia Admit It You Love It
Italy Much More
Jamaica Once You Go, You Know
Cool Japan
See the world. Visit London
1 Malaysia
Maldives Sunny Side of Life
Montenegro Wild Beauty
Namibia Land of Contrasts
New Zealand 100% Pure
Romania Land of Choice
Discover Peru
WOW Philippines
Uniquely Singapore
Slovakia Little Big Country
Slovenia I Feel Love
Smile! You are in Spain
Switzerland Get Natural
Taiwan Touch Your Heart
Tanzania Land of Kilimanjaro Zanzibar and the Serengeti
Texas (visual representation of ‘Everything’s bigger in Texas’ – I think)
Amazing Thailand

And the funniest tourism-related ad slogan I came across in the course of this research? Here it is courtesy of St Johns Hotel in Solihull…

St Johns Hotel: sleep with us – you won’t regret it!

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Tourism slogans are the emperor’s new clothes – that’s why we laugh at them!

The three most successful tourism slogans of all time are, surprise surprise, all from the land of advertising glitz and shinola. According to Newsweek, they are: ‘I Love New York’, ‘Virginia Is for Lovers’ and Las Vegas’s ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’.

But at the World Travel Market last month, the North America section of the vast London Excel trade show seemed subdued when it came to selling itself. Texas, for example, had ditched its ‘Everything is bigger in Texas’ for a visual representation of size via small blue jeans badge on a giant blank screen.

Texas billboard

Texas: where everything is bigger

But perhaps North America was only quiet by contrast. Because elsewhere the tourism slogans and the excessive luxury of certain stalls were shouting their wares.

Take Egypt, for example. It was launching a brand new marketing tagline. ‘Egypt: Where It All Begins’ – in an off-the scale point size on a wall to the side of a small pyramid inside which the travel trade met to do business. (A few days later I spotted it on the side of a number 45 bus back in Birmingham – not quite so evocative.)

Egypt: where it all begins

Egypt: where it all begins

What is interesting is whether such branding, on which tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent in an effort to relaunch a destination, works in a world where most tourism taglines seem to be ridiculed.

When Egypt was casting for a new slogan a couple of years ago, Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey suggested that, judging Egypt on safety, ‘Where it all ends’ might be a more appropriate line.

And then there is Panama’s ‘It will never leave you’ – which, as Jaunted notes, is ‘reminiscent of childhood trauma and STDs’.

While many destinations hope for the success of an ‘I heart New York’, many more create slogans that are instantly forgettable. I realised, for example, that I have no idea what my home city of Birmingham’s slogan is, or even the UK’s? So I sent out a request to teh Brum Twitter crowd – many answers came back but none definitive and no one mentioned The Word Is Out, which is what it seems to be. One too many council marketing revamps perhaps? And anyway can they even begin to compete with the marvellous, once-heard-never-forgotten Birmingham: It’s Not Shit?

[Aside: Funnily enough, Birmingham’s marketing department emailed me after my callout to suggest a quick interview so they could explain Birmingham’s tourism slogan to me. A game of email tag followed in which I still couldn’t get the answer to what the slogan actually is! I mean why on earth does a city’s slogan need explaining? Isn’t that the point of a one-liner – to sum it all up? Anyway…]

So while tourism slogans mostly fail to resonate with their target audience, they do offer a chance for a city, region or country to go shopping for a new image and dress itself up in new clothes every so often (even if they do risk turning out to be the emperor’s new clothes).

I do wonder, though, whether we need this kind of traditional marketing anymore in a world where destinations are mapped so thoroughly on the internet. Who is fooled by a sales slogan when you can dial up authentic pictures, video, social networking, reviews, blog posts, newspaper sections, FCO advice, even local people and travel companies, pretty much for any place and any experience.

Whatever your take on sloganising a place with a one liner, WTM did offer an unrivalled opportunity to document as many of these destination taglines as possible – at least, until the security guard chucked me out.

I manage to snap 44 of them, but there were still 100-plus more countries, states and regions that I missed or had left their marketing slogans at home.

You’ll find the full set of pics are gathered into a set on my Flickr and a slideshow, full list and breakdown in a separate post: Around the world in 44 tourism slogans – because unlike taglines, I can’t keep the word count down. Which, is perhaps both their advantage and their Achilles’ Heel.