10 June 2008

A Trivial Lesson Learned Abroad

If you don't spend much time watching TV channels like CNN International, BBC World, or Al Jazeera English, you likely don't realize that countries (and Michigan!) do considerable advertising on their own behalf. It's like an ad from the National Dairy Council telling you to drink milk, but instead it's Armenia or Azerbaijan suggesting that you visit.

The results are sometimes quite impressive but are more often rather laughable. In all cases it is a window into how a country sees itself and how it wants to be seen by the outside world (or at least the international traveler or expat watching these channels).

Two of my favorites come from Bahrain and feature a person smiling in hypnotically slow-motion. Unfortunately I can't embed this videos here but I encourage you to have a look at them here and here.

Here is an example from Greece that was getting heavy airtime a few months ago:

Azerbaijan's best offering:

Unfortunately I couldn't find an example of some of the cheesier "Malaysia Truly Asia" campaign. Stunningly low production values.

Finally, there is Harry, sans Lloyd, who has gotten some airtime promoting the fact that Michigan gives you the "upper hand". Get it?

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