Is New Zealand’s New Tourism Ad Brilliant or Tone Deaf?

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Since Covid, marketers have tackled the enormous challenge of adapting to new messaging while remaining sensitive to the global pandemic’s ongoing toll on human lives and on the travel industry. Some have hit the right tone, while others have come off as confusing. Pure New Zealand’s campaigns usually land in the former category, boasting unconventional and witty takes that appeal to travelers’ emotions. But its recent “Traveling under the social influence” marketing videos — part of the “Do Something New, New Zealand” domestic campaign, aimed at discouraging influencer-inspired tourist photos at popular sights — evokes more mixed feelings than praise. It’s a fine line between genius and insensitivity in the current global tourism context.

“We noticed that people were posting similar photos and time again, and we wanted to leverage and use Kiwi humour to encourage people to try new experiences across our country,” Bjoern Spreitzer, general manager domestic at Tourism New Zealand, said in a statement. “There’s more exciting things to sit on than a rock!,” says comedian Tom Sainsbury in the ad, playing the part of a ranger …

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