After Robert De Niro started promoting Switzerland Tourism, the voice of Bruce Willis is now luring people to Davos Klosters. An expert reveals why more and more destinations advertise with stars.
Hollywood seems to have fallen in love with Switzerland. After Robert De Niro appeared in a video clip from Switzerland Tourism together with Roger Federer, Bruce Willis raved about winter in the mountains in a new image film for the tourism destination Davos Klosters.
At least it sounds like it. In fact, it is not Bruce Willis himself, but his German dubbing voice, that of the actor Manfred Lehmann. With the image film, Davos Klosters is sure to attract attention. “When it comes to advertising, we compete with destinations that have considerably larger budgets. In order to attract attention, creative approaches are required, ”says Samuel Rosenast, Head of Communication at Davos Klosters.
What does advertising do with stars?
Why are tourist regions increasingly relying on the celebrity factor? Have the destinations run out of arguments? Isn’t it enough to show mountain landscapes in a white robe and perfectly groomed slopes? We wanted to know from communications expert Ferris Bühler:
Ferris Bühler, what effect does it have when celebrities advertise a tourist destination?
First of all, you have to make a distinction between whether a celebrity is actually appearing as a so-called “brand ambassador” or whether, as in the case of the Davos Klosters image film, it is a dubbing voice of a prominent personality.
Ferris Bühler is a PR and communications expert and owner of the storytelling agency Ferris Bühler Communications. In his podcast StoryRadar he talks to his guests about trends from the PR and marketing world.
Based on the voice, one inferreds Bruce Willis …
Not everyone does that. Many people have to be explained first that the voice is the dubbing voice of Bruce Willis. But what happens with the clip is that people think “this voice sounds familiar to me”. This creates a familiarity.
So does the Davos Klosters image film have a positive effect?
Yes, if you hear a familiar voice, regardless of whether you can assign it, you pay more attention to what is presented. It is definitely a smart approach to draw attention to the tourist destination. In addition, it will be a lot cheaper than the engagement of the actual star. One problem with this form of advertising, however, is that it is mainly played on YouTube and other social media channels. And then a not to be underestimated part of the users turned off the sound – so you can’t hear the voice at all.
Does that mean that the corporate film is good for generating attention, but not much more than showmanship?
Advertising with stars works because of the public’s interest in the star. But it has to be credible.
A few years ago New York implemented a coherent campaign with Taylor Swift. Back then, Taylor Swift actually moved to New York and, together with the tourism organization, launched the “Welcome to New York” campaign. New York was discovered through the eyes of the newcomer Taylor Swift, who at the same time released a song with the same title “Welcome to New York”, which became something of an anthem in the city.
Does our time today demand authenticity?
Necessarily. At the same time, tourist destinations have to pay close attention to who the target group is when applying. A good example of this is the campaign by Jessica Alba and Zac Efron, who last summer together with Dubai Tourism made six video clips in the best Hollywood style. Here the celebrity factor, the target group and their interests played together perfectly.
Should tourism destinations increasingly rely on stars?
The tourism industry will definitely jump on this bandwagon more and more. As a destination, you want to be inspired. With the repetitive campaigns, destinations stand out too little. You have to break new ground in advertising. But celebrities alone are not enough. If, for example, Gstaad signed Madonna, who knows that she spends her holidays there every year, that would be a perfect match. If she were to release another song about her love for Gstaad, it would be sensational and at the same time absolutely authentic.
So classic advertising is a thing of the past?
Yes. In the past, the principle of “one size fits all” applied to most tourist destinations. The advertising conveyed: We are there for everyone. Today holiday destinations have to ask themselves which target group they want to address. And you have to get more creative. To come back to Davos Klosters: You are currently doing a lot of things right by using channels like Tiktok individually. The future belongs to tailor-made and highly creative advertising.
What convinces you to visit a holiday destination?
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