2014 ad was a missed opportunity

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At about this time of year in 2013 the Journal Pioneer published an editorial comparing P.E.I.'s tourism marketing campaign to that of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Their approach was better than ours - and nothing much has changed since.

Just this week Newfoundland and Labrador launched the eighth edition of its “Find Yourself” campaign.

Published by Target Marketing of St. John's, this TV, newspaper and online marketing campaign has, to date, won more than 200 awards. That number will almost certainly rise again with this most recent edition.

For anyone who hasn't seen one of them, the commercials are hauntingly beautiful. Each one focusing on a unique aspect, cultural or geographical, of that province.

The campaign has been credited to a huge surge in tourism for Newfoundland and Labrador, which has not been a traditional destination for tourists.

Tourist spending hit $1 billion there in 2012.

It's all great news for our Newfoundland and Labrador cousins – in tourism anyway.

But unlike The Rock, P.E.I. is a traditional tourist destination. Heck, we style ourselves as the tourism capital of Canada.

So why can't we come up with an award winning commercial?

Anyone who has been following the Island's tourism marketing plan for this year will know that we're putting all our eggs in the sesquicentennial basket – that being the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference.

There's no denying that the provincial and federal governments are putting a lot of effort into promoting and marketing this celebration, and for the most part, we like what we see.

Unfortunately, we can't say the same for the promotional video that's been produced for it.

Clocking in at just under three minutes the movie features a young man extolling the virtues of P.E.I. and zipping around to the various typical locations one associates with the Island.

People watch him quizzically as he excitedly tells the audience why they should come to the Island in 2014, all the while walking towards the camera, which keeps pace with him.

At one point he grabs a large fish from a passerby on Great George Street in Charlottetown only to toss it at a random chef.

He wears those fake Anne of Green Gables braids.

He interrupts a golf game.

It's not a bad commercial by any stretch, and is certainly an improvement over previous efforts – but we feel as if it just slapped a new coat of paint on tired old tourism talking points.

There is, however, one gorgeous scene from the commercial where the actor is shown on one of our white sand beaches during one of those magical P.E.I. sunsets. Whoever shot that scene should get a bonus, it's breathtaking.

There should have been more scenes like that one.

For those few seconds, it was eerily similar to those award winning Newfoundland and Labrador commercials.


Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Charlottetown Canada Great George Street

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