« How To Miss Your Exams | Main | Weekend Caption Competition #7 »

The Wrong Flag

I have to admit to being somewhat sceptical about the likely impact of the new “Pop By” flag programme just launched by Bermuda’s Department of Tourism.

The hope seems to be that we’ll cart around one of these luridly coloured flags with us every time we go out, to signal to our visitors that we 're glad they're here and would welcome the opportunity to chat with them. The idea presumably being to demonstrate that Bermudians really are as friendly as the hype would have our visitors believe.

But I'd suggest that unhelpful locals on the beach aren't responsible for any perceived decline in the friendliness of Bermudians. It's surly service in some of our stores, restaurants and public transport system, not to mention a perception that crimes such as bag-snatching and hotel room breakins are increasingly common. The flag programme won’t change that.

Be that as it may, I think the Department of Tourism missed an opportunity here. Had they just used Bermudian flags in their campaign, perhaps they could have encouraged a sense of kinship among the locals as well as between us and our visitors.

Comments

Comment on this post on your own blog, then add a link here by sending a trackback to http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834549ba869e200d83449cc5753ef, or by using this form.

Additional Comments (45)

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

In my opinion this campaign is a ridiculous waste of money.
And once again I think you have hit the nail square on the head Phil.

but the girls do look pretty cute on bermynet.com

I saw some in my local Esso station today. Are you supposed to fly it from your car....stitch it to your shirt...carry it around with you...or what!

Bloody ludicrous idea.

Typical agency idea. Typical of the Ministry of Tourism to fall for it.

Many of the pop and sizzle ideas are designed to impress Bermudians - they are pretty irrelevant to our tourists.

This is embarrassing. Very hokey. Bermudians are either friendly or they're not.

It seems they were to give each school child what was thought to be a mini version of the flags seen on East Broadway, but it turns out they delivered a multitude of the same size flags to at least one primary school that I know of for sure. Can you imagine giving that long pole to each and every school child, in particular just after Star Wars!! Automatic Light Saber!!! We are arming our children..... All in the name of Friendliness!!!!

Took a trip to Clearwater Beach and Tobacco Bay this afternoon to see whether the Pop By flags were more pop or more fizzle.

We only saw one lady with one of the flags, at Clearwater Beach. "Are you tourists?" she asked eagerly as we approached. We told her no, we were locals - we were just curious to know whether she'd had any tourists stop by. No, just locals, she replied. She explained that she'd been offered her free flag and six pack of ginger beer at a gas station on her way to the beach. Her kids had asked her, somewhat embarrassed, whether she was actually going to put the flag up. But she said she felt that she should do her bit to help tourism.

I guess it's still early days for the Pop By initiative. And I'm glad to see not everyone is as cynical about it as I am. But first impressions don't bode well.

Well - I went into my local Esso at Collectors Hill, and they were all gone in 3 days!

So - either they are being used for their purpose, or someone is starting a flag business.

I forgot....

HOW do tourists know what the flags mean? Are we telling every arrival at the airport - every cruise ship tourist?

Just asking.

Or people are taking them for the free six-pack of ginger beer and throwing the flag in the trash...

I have to hand it to your government, when it comes to hokey ideas they are tops. How sad it is that your government feels they have to bribe you to be friendly towards visitors to your island. A free six pack of ginger beer and if your really nice maybe a nip of Black Seal to liven it up, nachos are optional.

Pop and Sizzle has to be the funniest slogan I have heard in a long time. What the heck is POP and Sizzle anyway? Are you supposed to POP on by anyone with a flag and SIZZLE with conversation from someone juiced up with Dark & Stormies?

I have never had a problem conversing with friendly Bermudians in the past or at least I thought they were friendly. Now I guess they have to have a flag to make it official.

Oh look at me I have a flag and I am government certified friendly!!!!!!!!

How embarrasing can you get????

THEY SHOULD HAVE SOME HOW TIED IN GOSLING'S WITH THIS PROMOTION, AFTER ALL A DARK 'N STORMY IS WAY MORE WELCOMING THAN;
(i) A SILLY FLAG
(ii) PLAIN GINGER BEER
(iii) ANY POP & SIZZLE AMBASADOR

AFTER ALL "BERMUDIANS LOVE TO DRINK"

for the criminally inclined could make for easy pickings.

just the fly the flag and take the bag.

Oh Limey....tell me it isn't so!!!!!

Mmmm - suspect you might be right nonetheless. There was one stuffed behind my hedge this morning and one across the road too.

Maybe the ginger beer was just too much?

As a kid I used to tell everyone going to Bermuda that my dad owned all the houses that had a white roof. I said if they ever got thirsty they could just pop into any house with a white roof and say I'd sent them and they'd be treated well. By the time the plane landed they usually figured I was pulling their leg. (Except Mindy of course, she still thinks I'm a prince.)

It was a joke back then and I'm afraid it still is.

I see we have little pink golf pegs this morning.

That will bring tourists in for certain. Hell - I might even take up golf!

What on earth are we trying to do here?

Have you noticed the new sugar packets?

Well, if the pics at http://www.bermynet.com/ are any indication, the programme is at least getting four young Bermudians laid this summer ;)

Tiger...

If I thought there was even a remote link between waving a flag...and getting laid....I would wave a flag.

Did I really say that?

PHIL,

I HAVE TO ASK, AND I AM HONESTLY SURPRISED THAT YOU HAVEN'T COMMENTED ON THIS ALREADY....

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT EWART BROWN "HAVING A GO" AT SCHOOLS WHO DECIDED IT WOULD BE SAFER & IN THEIR KIDS BEST INTERESTS NOT TO PARTAKE IN THE POP & SIZZLE CAMPAIGN ???

I guess you can line up the schools along with the Bermudians for Referendum, the taxi drivers, the boat tour operators, and the home owners as saboteurs of the PLP vision.

Or, have the PLP misunderstodd the vision that Bermudians want?

The department of tourism spends more time marketing to Bermudians than it does to tourists. It is a failure. We all know it, yet changes are never enacted. Bermuda is a strange mix of anger and complacency.

Who the hell came up with this bone-headed scheme?
Why are we wasting money on plainly misconceived schemes to market Bermuda to, wait for it, TOURISTS WHO ARE ALREADY HERE, rather than people who haven't already decided to come here? Flags and the sharing of a warm can of ginger beer on a beach aren't going to spread word of mouth, good value, good service and affordable airfares and accomodations will. Geesh........

Bermuda...the newest pedophile destination of choice.

Loki,

According to politics.bm the idea came from none other than the Minister himself.

Perhaps that explains his rather 'touchy' response to two schools (now four) raising quite valid concerns over the idea.

It is, I must say, also alot like many of his other ideas. As politics.bm pointed out, it just has that shallow, gimmicky feel that Dr. Brown is so fond of.

You're absolutely right, however. It's a stupid idea; one that requires energy that would be far better spent actually improving the product.

While I suppose he deserves credit for trying, Dr. Brown has shown a reluctance to actually attempt to solve the tourism problem. He seems to believe that the product is already there, the flights are alredy inexpensive, and that there are plent of tourists who would rather come here than say...Florida.

Very troubling...

"a deliberate campaign of destruction" says Dr. Brown.

"a platitudinous politician with sticky paws" says Tiger Bay.

Cost of Ginger Beer: $30,000
Cost of Little Pink Flags: $20,000
Cost for administration: $100,000
Look on Ministers face when given the
bill for the clean-up: Priceless

Recent ministers' bright ideas for tourism always seem to be a sad failure - like David Allen's Diaspora Disaster and Renee Webb's Flashy Fashion shows in New York.

Expenditure of our tourism marketing $$ should be directed by those in the industry, not political hacks pursuing their own little dreams.

If anything, the Minister's activities should be constrained to leading government's role in "improving the product" ... for example, getting Club Med and other defunct hotels open again, championing airlift, and providing economic incentives to tourism operators in return for employment of Bermudians.

My mother used to use a saying that went " You can catch more flies with honey". Maybe our Minister of Tourism should think about this saying. After reading today's newspaper I am wondering if the government actually thinks things through before making comments or even implementing ideas. I mean don't get me wrong I am not some person totally against the government but some of the decisions and statements by our elected officals have me really mystified.

In today's paper (June 23rd) Dr. Ewart Brown took offence to the "deliberate campaign of destruction" by some of our schools against the "Pop By" campaign. Well it seems to me that these principals are not actually taking a stance against the campaign but simply voicing opinions of the teachers and parents of their students. These people have taken on a task to not only educate our young people but also give them some sort of guidlines for life. Also in every statement made by principals, they applauded Dr. Browns campagin, as do I for the most part. All the schools also welcomed the Department into their schools to help jump start the program. How Dr. Brown found these comments and decisions as a way to destroy his new campaign I don't understand. And the fact he now is saying he will now add extra energy to see this campaign succeeds is ridiculous. Maybe, like my opening saying, he should bring in the principals, or have a sit down with them and talk about how he envisioned this campaign working rather than hitting out at them.

I think if our government can work with the people then the right things can be achieved. We are moving in a good direction and I applaud the government on not giving up on Tourism, but if the government officials would accept the comments of the community leaders and work together then I think we would see a better island as a whole.

I ask every elected official to listening to the people that put them where they are. We are the ones who elected you, you are working for us. Why not listen to us rather than work against us. Noone wants to see Bermuda deteriorate.

Well said Ian.
Me thinks the Good doctor should go visit a good doctor. He seems to be suffering from a persecution complex.

Methinks the good doctor sees the detailed tourism data that is not released to the public and is loosing his cool. He needs good news - and was hoping we'd get caught up in the pretty flags and not notice the continuing and wretched decline of tourist arrivals.

I wish they'd learn that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The marketing isn't the problem, the product is. Until we collectively acknowledge that we need to make some huge changes in the Bermuda service industry, tourism will continue on its downward trajectory. The hotels, airfares, restaurants are far too expensive and we are far from offering world class service. Sad, but true.

I think it's about time we seriously knuckled down and considered allowing companies such as Harrah's, Trump, Boyd, etc to open casinos here. Bermuda is still stuck in the 50's and 60's when it comes to tourism and its time we got our heads out of the slop bucket.

Schemes to offer flags and ginger beer to our tourists won't change tourism, a fresh perspective will.

Get real, we cannot accomodate the volume that the large casino players require. Gambling is not a magic bullet!

THEY SHOULD TAKE $1,000,O00 OF THE TOURISM BUDGET AND SEND THE "POP & SIZZLE TEAM" TO THE FOLLOWING AIRPORTS: BOSTON, KENNEDY, LA GUARDIA, TORONTO, GATWICK** & ATLANTA AND RUN THE FOLLOWING PROMOTION (DAILY FOR A YEAR)
1. RANDOMLY PICK TWO BERMUDA BOUND FLIGHTS PER DAY (AT EACH AIRPORT)=12 FLIGHTS/DAY
2. RIGHT BEFORE EACH FLIGHT TAKES OFF - DRAW A NAME FROM THE FLIGHTS MANIFEST
3. THE WINNER RECIEVES $250.00 TO BE SPENT AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT / STORE / WHAT EVER
4. THE PUBLICITY WOULD CREATE SOME REAL "POP & SIZZLE" (YOU ALMOST GUARANTEE AN ARTICLE IN EACH CITY'S NEWPAPER & ALL THE NETWORKS)

N.B THIS WOULD BE SUCESSFUL ALTHOUGH NOT POPULAR WITH THE MP's AS IT WOULD BE MORE DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO DIVERT THE MONEY TO THEMSELVES

** = DRAW TWO (2) TICKETS FOR LONDON FLIGHTS AS THEY ARE'T DAILY

"Gambling is not a magic bullet!"

Yes. It. Is.

Nobody's suggesting casinos the size of Ceasars Palace in Vegas. There's no reason they couldn't be incorporated within the footprint of existing hotels. Bermuda could be very well-placed to cater to high-rollers and whales.

Loki is right - most of the large casino groups have niche operations that run to higher margins than the standard lines. Wynn has been developing this model over the last few years both in Vegas and Macau and there is no reason in principle it cannot work here. The main barriers are the prohibitive work permit restrictions on high and low end labour that have strangled tourism here.

Why should we imitate other destinations?? Our tourism sector has successfully been based on location, friendly service, safety, and sunshine.
Lets drop this bad gambling nightmare and get back to basics. Make our streets safe again, market to those close to us, take pride in being a Bermudian, and wear sunscreen.

But their business is to own the hotel...Bermuda's existing large hotels aren't much interested; they are doing well off the business travellers who are much less price sensitive...even the niche casino operations are geared to much higher volumes than Bermuda can deliver.

Hi 2 cents...

Do me a favour will you...drop the caps. It's called shouting in chat rooms.

Many thanks.

Smiths,

If we were twelve and discussing who was the cutest one in N'Sync, I would probally agree with you about the caps.....(Incidentally they're all gay)

Generally in "big peoples" chat rooms the caps aren't a big deal, as alot of posters use caps for their "work" and don't always remember to change to lower case.

If you're upset ...I am sorry, and I'll try to remember to change

More posters...less poseurs !!

Loki,

"The marketing isn't the problem, the product is."

I agree with you but whose responsibility is it to make the product attractive, the government or the private sector, ie. property owners, entertainment proprietors, etc.?

I can agre that the government should be leading the process to market Bermuda overall (which is done through advertisement) but surely the government cannot and should not taken on the responsibility of the private sector.

"I can agre that the government should be leading the process to market Bermuda overall (which is done through advertisement) but surely the government cannot and should not taken on the responsibility of the private sector."

The private sector cannot do it without Government leading the way with legislation. By way of example, the private sector cannot bring casinos to Bermuda until the Government legalizes them. The Government must also lead the way by legislating for a waiver of the 60/40 rule to provide an incentive for the casinos. These are some examples, but there are many more.

It seems a pity that an extremely important political figure cannot immediately recognise that when the guardians of our children make a valid point that it's not neccessarily a negative attack on their programs or initiatives.

I only wish our leaders could learn to respond in a positive and enlightened manner. "You know, you are absolutely right. I guess we didn't think it completly through and expecting our children to set up flags, hand out sodas and strike up a conversation with a stranger on their own would be a bit too much". "So what ideas can you help us with that will still allow our kids to be involved and further our goal of making our visitors feel welcomed to Bermuda?"

Well, how about soda stands set up at popular visitor sites ie: Front Street, Beaches, Dock Yard, St Georges etc. Have them manned by kids with parental supervisors in attendance. Along with a soda give the tourist a flag as a keep sake. And why not pay the kids a small salary for their hard work as an ambassador of goodwill.

As hokey as it might appear, there is really nothing wrong with these kinds of initiatives and promotions as I truly believe the key to Bermuda's future is with repeat visitors. These concepts do help promote the idea that Bermudians are willing to make an effort to show appreciation to their visitors. But the concept must work for all concerned.

While I think that the idea was good - we are a friendly people by nature after all - I'm inclined to agree that the process was not thought through...

I'd also agree that the focus should not be on tourists already here, unless the idea is tourist retention. It is, however, refreshing to see any initiative, no matter how badly implemented, coming from our Tourism Department.

The problem, of course, is that we do not have a product to market anymore. All the service and pride seems to have gone out of the service industry over time. There is also the question of price. Why come to Bermuda when for not even the cost of your airfare you can get an all inclusive package to somewhere equally warm.

Anyone have any suggestions? Oh and just because I can't post without sarcasm and idiotic comment:

FLOP AND FIZZLE??

*Tssshk* Cracks open free ginger beer...checks wind and raises flag...

Loki,

Again, I agree with you. I am not against casinos but as Tiger said they are not a magic bullet. Casinos in and of themselves are not going to solve the tourism problem. Casinos along with other activities. I never understood why Bermuda did not include watersports on the beaches, such as jetskis, parasailing, etc.

Bermuda also needs a nightlife, locally produced shows with local artists.

I see Bermuda is paying for Dr Sizzle to throw out the first pitch at the Nationals game tonight. We seem to pay a lot to get him VIP seats.

Ewart is not the only aging radical to have, well, slightly nutty marketing tastes:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/07/20/MNG8FDQIHN1.DTL

(Care of Pondblog)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Updates By Email

  • Enter your email address below to receive a daily email containing all new posts.
     

    Delivered by FeedBurner

Search The Site

-->

Contact Your MP

  • Politicians are elected to serve the people. If your MP is doing a good job or isn't living up to your expectations, let him or her know. Contact details for all PLP and UBP MPs and senators can be found here.