Saturday, June 04, 2005

Ad-Man, Go!

It could be that I work for the company that makes these ads, I'm not sure. If I do, and people who are the boss of me (everybody) are reading this, this whole post is a joke. If I don't, well, read on. So, I guess it's the time of year for travel commercials. I've been seeing a lot of them. On the one hand, they're appropriate from a marketing standpoint. Europe hates us Americanos, and we all know it. You don't really see a lot of "Come to France. We love your American asses!", right? Makes sense.

The alternative, then, seems to be that we see ads for Mexico and Jamaica. Now, before I wrote this, I did a scant amount of secondary research to see who actually does travel to Mexico and Jamaica. Overwhelmingly, tourist resourts in Mexico are periodicallly populated by underage teenagers on Spring Break. Jamaica gets its fair share, but its tourists include more honeymooners than Mexico's. So, maybe the tactic is to attract more monied folk to the brown island and the beige peninsula, okay. That's fair. But, could you do it in a way that doesn't make the native folk look like their entire existence is predicated on James and Laura going to Mexico to see the Mayan ruins, and having some grinning Mexican follow them on a bike to point out a shorter way? I mean that's about as realistic as two gringos being invited to a family's wedding celebration, enjoying the exotic food, and even doing a cute little cha-cha-cha line dance. Oh, but wait, maybe it's true, because that what the commercial shows. Pandering sucks.

This is Mexico:

Rich in history, pre-colonial history, mind you -- BEFORE EUROPE GOT THERE. Chock full of people who live their lives never thinking that their great deed could be directing a misguided tourist who's riding rough-shod over the landscape in a rented Jeep to the shortest path to other-tourist-free ruin-gazing. Give me a small break, please.

So, just don't go to Mexico and expect that people of a certain hue will not only open their arms and welcome you, but will bend over backwards in appreciation of your privileged glory. That's all. Go and be better than the commercials would have you be. And, if you decide to visit Jamaica, too, first of all, this is it:


Now, I don't see any place on that map marked "We Love Your Entitled Ass-ville", so don't live up to the low expectations for your travel that the commercials present you. Yeah, it's great to have you there, you contribute to the economy, etc. But, I've been there, and I have to say that, contrary to popular depiction, it ain't an island full of smiling brown folk desperate to be at your beck and call. Who is making these ads? Why don't they have a higher opinion of you? I'm just saying. Later - j.


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