A Canadian island is hoping to work a little reverse psychology on visitors by telling them how awful it is and not to come.
The new marketing campaign for Bowen Island is designed to keep the island as the best-kept secret in British Columbia while at the same time sneakily encouraging an increase in sightseers. The island is just a short ferry ride from the city of Vancouver, but is often bypassed by tourists who travel to the much larger Vancouver Island and the famous city of Victoria.
The cheeky new campaign features a talking deer who advises visitors to “tell your friends it’s awful here” and says “don’t forget to leave” so that the island does not get overrun by humans. There are also an eagle, a seal, and a slug all seeking to keep Bowen Island as pristine and unspoilt as possible. Gordon Ganong of the local economic development committee told Lonely Planet: “We wanted to bring this quirky community together and instil pride throughout [the island]. Working from the research, the creative folks took a page from the quirky tagline of Portland, Oregon ‘Keep Portland Weird’ and adapted it to Bowen Island. “Tongue in cheek taglines were developed that invoked humour and include four mascots with personalities consistent to what Bowen Island and islanders relate to.”
Publicity surrounding the campaign has already increased traffic to the island’s website by 75% with YouTube hits up from 600 to 20,000 in the two weeks. The campaign will also take in the island’s Bowfest festivities on August 27. The island itself sits just a few kilometres off the coast of British Columbia and is served by a short twenty-minute ferry ride and water taxis. Bowen Island is also a popular filming location and has been used in movies like Bird on a Wire, Double Jeopardy, and remakes of the Fog and the Wicker Man.