Scottish tourist board warned not to use God, golf or Sean Connery in new ad
- 1 month ago
There's more to Scotland than 007 CREDIT: ISTOCK
You could argue that golf and Sean Connery are among Scotland's greatest exports, but seemingly not when it comes to attracting foreign tourists.
A comically damning report has surfaced, addressed to the government-affiliated Scottish tourist board after it developed the first cut of its new £6 million video campaign, and produced by the media consultancy tasked with running its focus groups. Suffice to say, the advert fell flat.
Golf was declared "polarising", and using Sean Connery to promote the country based on his former James Bond role "obtuse" and "facile".
To be fair, it does have good golf courses CREDIT: ISTOCK
Elsewhere in the first cut of the video, there appears to have been some mention of Scotland's role in the hunt for the "God particle", associated with Edinburgh University physicist Sir Peter Higgs, to which the advice was simply: "Don’t mention God in the US".
According to The Herald, SNP ministers were also told that featuring children in the footage was off-putting.
The 110-page "insight findings" report, based on the responses of both British and American test subjects to the video, was produced by Brighton-based agency Lucid People, and released after a Freedom of Information request.
The aim of the joint project by ministers, VisitScotland, Universities Scotland, and Scottish Development International, was to present the country as a "great brand".
Adjectives used to describe the video, however, include a veritable rainbow of put downs - from "weak", "wafty", "cheesy" and "desperate"; to "self-congratulatory, bossy and patronising".
One respondent from London stated: "It’s obtuse and I can’t see the point of it," while another baffled viewer remarked: "I don’t get who it’s for or what they’re trying to say. I mean, I sort of do get what they’re trying to say, by why are they saying it?"
In one scene, actors were apparently seen to be admiring bottles of water and toasting each other gleefully with cups of coffee.
One American commented: ‘Yeah what’s with the bottles of water? Maybe they have really great water there – do they?’
Another weighed in: "All the water was really distracting. And not just the water. I mean, who does a toast with a takeaway cup of coffee?"
Various accents also proved confusing for our friends across the pond, with one stating: "Why is she Welsh? Accents all sound the same to me."
Finally, those from elsewhere in the UK were asked for their current impression on Scotland.
"Scotland is dry," one said. "Not literally but emotionally. Sitting in a pub. Walking and hiking. Going and seeing a castle and getting drunk."
Another surmised: "‘Not a holiday, more of a short break. Grey and rainy. Windy and miserable. And not much culture."
The June 2017 report findings were used to hone the campaign ahead of its launch this year. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said the campaign was a successful bid to stimulate economic growth.