The Bahamas stepped outside the box with its new $12 million nationwide ad campaign that launches on Dec. 11 and runs through April.

In choosing a theme -- other than sun, sand and sea -- to highlight the destination, the campaign zeroes in on why people travel rather than where they want to go.

The target market is the overstressed, unhappy, overworked and under-tanned segment of crazed consumers, according to Vernice Walkine, director general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, who "can benefit from a 'Bahamavention,' an action taken by concerned friends and family members to get a loved one the help and recovery only a Bahamas vacation can give" she said.

The ads introduce Bahamians as experts who embody a less stressful and more balanced life. Real Bahamian residents appear in the ads, extending a personal invitation to escape everyday life by vacationing in the Bahamas.

The 'Bahamavention' ads are running in newspapers and consumer publications, on national and cable TV channels and on New York City subway trains.

A late-night, 30-minute infomercial, designed as a spoof on the traditional infomercial, includes a somber-voiced narrator and pathetic characters whose loved ones perform Bahamaventions and deliver Bahamas vacations.

A new Web site related to the campaign, www.bahamavention.com, goes live on Dec. 11, as well, and will be linked to the Bahamas tourism site, at www.bahamas.com.

"The creative elements in this campaign [are designed to] remind the millions of Americans who have gone too long without a vacation of the benefits of taking time off -- and that the Bahamas is the ideal vacation destination for that escape," Walkine said.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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