Advertising Bermuda

For some reason easing back into regular blogging seems to be much harder than I expected. However, watching the Australia-England One-Day match has inspired me to post something. Perhaps inspired is the wrong word, as it is actually an advert that has annoyed me enough to rant about it.

It was a tourism advert for Malaysia that annoyed me. Now, I don’t have anything against Malaysia, its a lovely country, I have in-laws from there, and Malay food is perhaps my favourite cuisine (although Cajun and Korean are close rivals). The country certainly is beatiful and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel there and would certainly recommend it to others fortunate enough to visit it. Right now though Malaysia seems to have a really good advertising campaign going on, beatiful shots of Malaysian culture, food and nature, nice soundtrack and the tag line of ‘Malaysia – truly asia’. All very nice.

So, why should this annoy me? It annoys me because I think in my entire life I can only recall ever seeing three adverts for Bermuda. One of them was a television ad on US tv in the 1990s, one was a poster in a travel agents office near little Korea in Toronto (2002; but the poster seemed faded and dated) and the last one was an advert in a magazine from about 2000. I truly cannot recall seeing any other ads before or since. And I really have trouble understanding why that is. Sometimes I wonder if they are out there, but for some obscure reason I just have a knack of not coming across them. However, due to the number of other tourism adverts for other small island states I do come across, I reckon that its more likely that we’re just not advertising Bermuda anywhere near to these other countries.

This Malaysian advert reminded me of some posters I came across in London in early June. I had gone down to London and Canterbury for a meeting and to visit some friends. Using the tube I couldn’t help but take some of those ridiculously long escalators that they have there (seriously, I have never been on such a long escalator!). As you go up they have all these posters on the side to make the best use of a relatively captive audience. I swear, almost every fifth poster was advertising Turks & Caicos. Seriously, Turks & Caicos. Again, nothing against them and all, but I really wasn’t expecting to see such an advertising campaign for them. Other big adverts that I came across on this trip were some nice ones for Jamaica and Barbados, and quite a few for Cuba. In Canterbury – of all places – I came across an advert for Haiti, in addition to ones for Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. I have also come across television ads for Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and even Greneda.

While I’ve heard Bermuda mentioned in passing on radio (as a vacation prize) and on the television (on a sitcom) and of course in the news with the whole Uighur issue, I have not yet come across a single advert for Bermuda as a tourist destination. The most I’ve seen is a handwritten sign in a travel agents office in a mall in south Edinburgh.

I understand that it makes more sense to focus on the US eastern seaboard for tourism. So perhaps there is a lot more advertising going on there. And while I don’t have access to much US television over here, I have to say I really haven’t seen any when I lived in Bermuda drowning in US television. And I haven’t come across any advertisments online – at least not without deliberately searching for them. Although I have come across some for Cayman.

And I really don’t understand what the problem is. Our country should be able to invest more into tourism advertising than many other countries that I do come across routinely. I know we even have an expensive office in London. So where’s the beef? Seriously, what is all this money being spent on by the Ministry of Tourism instead of getting our name out there?

Now, I support the idea of getting our house in order, in the sense of restructuing the local hospitality sector. For instance, I really think we can do a lot more to develop cultural and eco tourism. And we DO need to renovate the hotels we have, and even build one or two new ones (the old Club Med site and the Par-la-ville one in particular). And I also agree with the need to develop things like the US grand slam and the Music Festival; also the St. Georges Christmas events. I don’t always agree with how these things are implemented, such as the PANAMAX cruise ships, Jumeriah and Faith-Based Fiascos. But I really don’t know why we don’t seem to be getting our name out there with television commercials and posted advertisments.

Granted, I’m trained in biology and ecological economics, not hospitality, but really, can someone please explain to me why we are being out-advertised by these other small island states?


19 thoughts on “Advertising Bermuda

  1. because you elected a snake oil salesman,whose only ambition is line his pockets,and stir up the politics of hate ,to distract the sheep from the disastrous course he has has charted.

    as Larry Burchall wrote in Bda sun:

    ” If you are ignorant and easily fooled, “…. “Only fools will accept tourism numbers on face value As this year’s tourism numbers come in, we are being told how comparitively good our overall numbers are. However, we are not being told about the drastically lower income that we’re earning from our new tourist business. Eighteen years on, the cost of living has shot up. In 1990, a regular loaf of bread cost $2.28. In 2008 the same loaf cost $4.65. Clearly, the money we got from tourism in 2008 had much less buying power than the money we got in 1990. Adding pain to loss, we actually got $88.3m fewer dollars in 2008.

    If we are getting fewer dollars in 2008 than we got in 1990, and if a 2008 dollar buys less than a 1990 dollar, then we must be “earning a helluva lot less money”. But when someone trumpets that we got 550,021 tourists in 2008 – they don’t tell you that, do they? No. You must figure that out for yourself.

    Trouble is, many people – ignorant, lazy, or just plain dumb – prefer not to think.

  2. Pingback: Advertising Bermuda « "Catch a fire" | caicostoday

  3. I genuinely believe that the Premier’s heart isn’t in this at all. If it was, we wouldn’t accept this type of advertsing. Not everyone plays golf. And you can’t tell me that the Bermuda ad shows the world the people of Bermuda.

    Without getting to far into the politics of this, compare the following TV ads:

    The Bermuda one has just been released, the Barbados one is a year old.

    Now ask – which island country would you vacation to?

  4. Your biggest problem John is that you do have common sense and question the unreasonable or untoward.

    And therein lies the rub to taxpayers in Bermuda. They live for today with nno qualms about tomorrow. It always comes and so does the money right?

    All the millions that have been spent over the past ten years and you ask questions about why Bermuda is not aggresively being put out there in the tourist world be it close at hand or otherwise?

    The answer is right in front of us all and when the day comes that certain people up and leave and things go further down the drain, they will ask and not until then and ….well the rest will be his-tory.

    The Talbots, the Smiths, the Burgess’s, the Brannons, et all must be turning in their graves.


  5. Oh dear, where does one start! Interesting that the Barbados ad specifically mentions “African and British”, and they are Independent. There is really no comparison between the pathetic ads put out by Bermuda’s American “experts” and those by the Islands to the South. I can’t even say competitors as they are so far ahead of Bermuda with their pride and purpose. It doesn’t take a marketing specialist to see Bermuda is no longer a product, and without a product you have nothing to sell. Why would anyone come here as opposed to somewhere else? Watch the ads and think why Bermuda, and no casinos won’t help. Bermuda used to have an envialble cachet as a once in a lifetime holiday that made it special. Today, the emphasis is on K Mart cruise passengers. There are answers all around but until Bermuda has a new Minister who wants to listen and market Bermuda, there is no hope.

  6. This is just another example of how no one can figure out the solution.

    This is just another example of why there is a need for reforms

    With all ya degres and money…..all our tax money being mindlessly spent for decades

    hundreds of millions

    idiots the lot of you.

    “There are answers all around ” …. the people have all the solutions to make Bermuda a product again

    The people dont have the capital resources to produce whatever product that will aid in the marketing.

    It takes real financial resources in peoples hands for these things to happen.

    Corruption…elitism…..with a pinch of white supremacy, combined with no real vision from a old tourism minister……old people rarely have innovative ideas.

    All the capital is left in total unaccountable control of a minority few with no accountability to the taxpayer.

    Until Bermuda has a population that can think for and govern itself and no longer depends on corrupt politicians and political parties……there is no hope

    **all power to the people by any means nessicary”

  7. Classic case of “differential analysis” as compared to a “SWOT analysis” – and they pulled it off in a great way. Modern marketing and branding theory is more about how you differentiate yourself, rather than the classic and outdated SWOT analysis. – Guess where Bermuda is?

    Bermuda’s DOTourism is such a mess with no clear policy other that the Glorious Leader’s ego. In a word, inept!

  8. Three important factors to consider.

    1) Who is our target market? Have we defined the target areas properly? How do we compete against others? The reality is, we are extremely overpriced and offer little in return. If you are not a golfer or a beach goer, then truly Bermuda offers little in the way of anything. So what sector of the world do we target? What do we offer for less than can be had in the Caribbean or Mexico?

    2) Once upon a time we had a 3 tiered tourism plan. The first was College Weeks. Bring them in as college kids… wow them and improve the chances that they come back for their honeymoon and anniversaries. It was a strategy, it had defined markets and worked. Somehow by the late 80’s that strategy went by the way. Does anyone know what the tourism strategy is, or even if they have one? What sense does it make having discounted flights to Bermuda if they can’t afford to stay in the hotels?

    3) With the development of the city centers (Hamilton Princess and the new hotel at Par-La-Ville Park) and these hotels set up not as resorts but as business centers, we need to consider what Hamilton offers and should these hotels have guest-access only casinos and live entertainment.

    Tourism is an industry, and left undeveloped it has become outdated, and in serious need of an overhall.

  9. Robert, is that your real name? Your last sentence was the kikker/kicker…

    We have nothing to offer period. KMart passengers? They must be doing pretty good to just afford a cruise.

    Differant strokes for differant folks. I suggest gardening. That way you can sort out what you want, when you want it, and if it will effect your pocket book.

    Until then, the leeches will suck all dry and be left with dead, decomposed, relics of the past.

    I need a rum……………………..

  10. Sparxx, Hamilton offers what other areas offer. Crime, high prices, congestion, et al.


    It will take five years just to do a turn around and all your gonna get is the “K.Mart shoppers……………..

    Ecconomics 101… all don’t get it do you…………………

    New York to W/Virginia…gas 40 bucks.

    Motel 4 days $300…..

    Forest, Parks, streams and rivers…..FREE

    Airline ticket to Bermuda…$700+ each……

    Go figure………………

  11. Also, Bermuda has secured British Airways as its ONLY immediate carrier to the European (and by extension, the Eurasian and African regions).

    Zoom failed, Virgin Atlantic never got off the ground, and there are few if any charters.

    Barbados has both BA and Virgin, and the occasional Luthansa connections. I’ll wager that Jamaica has similar.

  12. A 62-year-old man is today critically ill in hospital after being shot by gunmen who broke into a home.Police spokesman said: “It appears that two unknown men gained entry into a home and demanded money. This resulted in a 62 year old Smith’s parish man being shot.

    “He was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital where he is currently listed in critical condition.””

    new talking heads every week brought in to fill the empty space in a government of clowns

    blame everyone but themselves, same ol same ol…11 years of bull,and it keeps getting worse

  13. Tryangle, good points and similar.

    I have spoken to a few airlines about …’my words’…”Destination Bermuda”……..No takers. Why?

    Because we have nothing too offer, bottom line.

    Here’s one……………GOLF…..$250 per 18…………………

    Thats a bloody ticket to California and Miami and back to Montana…………….


    Man,…..I gotta pull a Rummy,,,,,,,,,,,,………..#911..Help…..Sorry we can’t take your call…the BIU is going into labour………………Bawahahaaaaaaa

  14. Thanks “Perry”. That seemed to slip in and I appreciate it.

    Well….there goes what we were disccusing….or does it?

    It’s all relative.

    Prayers for the victim.

  15. Seems to me we don’t have a coherent tourism strategy for marketing to fit into. Every few months it seems to change.

    Look on the bright side, we’ve got the PGA and Music Festival to bring in the masses.


    Well at least the good Dr. is improving overall arrivals…oh.

    Well at least we’re outperforming our neighbours to the South in a difficult time for tourism globally…oh.

    Well at I need the spin squad here, I’m running out of ways to paint this rosey…

  16. Ok, a few things.

    Comparing a 30 second ad to a 3 minute one is not a fair comparison. You can tell a lot more in 3 min than 30 seconds and they target completely different broadcast venues.

    What truly matters is the money tourism brings in that stays on island. Our aim should be to get as much money coming in for the least amount of expenditure and stress on our local infrastructure. We shouldn’t have to import tons of foreign labour because we can’t provide decent enough wages due to our discount nature.

    We cannot compete on discount tourism. We don’t have the ability to handle volume tourists and our on season is the Caribbean’s off season. We have to compete on quality of product and not price. We should not care about having the cheapest air flights to the island or the cheapest this or that. We need people who don’t care about price and are willing to throw down rediculous amounts of money for luxury and quality.

    How do we compete on quality? Exclusivity and a return to the old ways. Namely forget big hotels and get back to the quaintness of many small guest houses. Get rid of discount cruise liners and only allow luxury cruise liners. Improve our product, crack down heavy on crime against tourists, make Bermuda safer, work with what we have and focus on making Bermuda back into the quality destination it was and that doesn’t mean casinos or big concert events or crazy nightlife.

  17. Excellant points Dennis. But as the doctor said..the cure must come from within.

    I remember not that long ago in history when we had all those quaint cottages and private homes that accomidated tourist that would flood our ecconomy with big bucks.

    But some chose to go for the quick fix. If we don’t cull this violent trend were going to loose it all, mark my words.

    Slightly off topic but still the major obsticle is crime. Criminals are opportunists and robbing gas stations and other places are desperate ways. Now it’s observation and knowledge of the intended victim.Better stop this 30 second clip.

  18. Dennis highlighted several of the answers to which I averred in my earlier comment, although the main issue to my mind still remains, namely what is the product? Bermuda was a “bit of Britain as Britain used to be”. I accept that was somewhat Hollywoodish, but that has been destroyed by the American Premier. Pop and sizzle was tried, but Bermuda is not that. Sun sand and sex was tried, but Bermuda is not that. Spa and golf seems to be the latest, but that can be found cheaper and nearer to home. Hire a bike and enjoy the relaxed pace of life and explore Bermuda. Forget that one. So what is the product?
    Regarding advertising, and bearing in mind the question of product, today it is reported that of a budget of $14.7million, only $8.8 is spent on advertising, the balance 40% or $5.9million is taken out by middlemen (commission) That is absolutely scandalous and unconscionable, to be polite. No doubt this “too shall pass” and no one will question it, but maybe that is part of the reason Jonathan doesn’t see any advertising.

  19. Having worked in the advertising business for many years both here and abroad… during Bermuda’s “successful tourism years,” a professional Advertising Agency was always used. It was usually a well known New York agency, who had the resources to provide answers to the questions posed above… like “what is our true product?” and “how can we differentiate our Island from those down South in our advertising?” But this means doing some serious planning, which the plp Gov’t seem incapable of doing, as they are, IMHO, a “fly by the seat of your pants” operation.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s