In launching a $12 million ad campaign,
the Bahamas deviated from the tried-and-true formula of
highlighting sun and sand, broke away from the sea of sameness and
instead chose to zero in on why people travel rather than where
they want to go.
Reasoning that a
large segment of its target market is composed of overstressed,
unhappy, overworked and undertanned consumers, the campaign offers
a remedy in the form of a "Bahamavention" which, according to
Vernice Walkine, director general of the Bahamas Ministry of
Tourism, "is an action taken by concerned friends and family
members to get a loved one the help and recovery only a Bahamas
vacation can give."
easy-to-relate-to characters, the ads stimulate the emotions
associated "with the desperate need to escape from everyday life
and routine in a humorous way," Walkine said.
One TV spot
portrays a soccer mom who is irritated with her husband and violent
toward a soccer coach until a group-led Bahamavention convinces her
to head to the Bahamas for a vacation.
reveals a man known as "Frowny" who smiled for the first time in
years after his Bahamavention.
In a third ad, a
family does a Bahamavention with their father, who is unaware of
his constant yelling after talking on his cell phone all
The ads introduce
Bahamians as experts who embody a less stressful and more balanced
life. Bahamian residents appear in the
ads, extending a personal invitation to vacation in the
ads are running in newspapers and consumer publications, on
national and cable TV channels and on New York subway
30-minute infomercial, designed as a spoof on the traditional
infomercial, will feature a somber-voiced narrator and pathetic
characters whose concerned loved ones perform
A new Web site at
www.bahamavention.com, which is scheduled to go live
the week of Dec. 11, "is a tongue-in-cheek call to action where
browsers are diagnosed by Bahamian 'experts' to determine their
causes of stress. In all cases, the prescribed remedies are
vacations in the Bahamas," Walkine said.
The site will be
linked to the Bahamas tourism site, at www.bahamas.com.
The campaign will
run through April.
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.
She said air and
sea visitor arrivals for 2006 for the Bahamas are "pretty close" to
the figures for 2005, which totalled approximately 5
"Air is up,
cruise is down this year, but there's not a major change in either
category," Walkine said.
Right now, the
Bahamas is in the midst of a building boom that stretches from the
Out Islands to Grand Bahama (Freeport) and New Providence (Nassau,
Paradise Island and Cable Beach areas).
"By 2010, we will
have added 50% more rooms throughout the destination, bringing the
totals up to more than 14,000 rooms," Walkine said.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].