Anyone who logged on to the official tourist website of Ithaca, New York State last week would have been forgiven for questioning both their browser and their sanity.
For instead of a landing page centred on pictures of temperate forest, wine tasting and river gorges, they would have found tropical beaches, snorkellers and text urging them to visit Florida instead.
But the site hadn’t been hacked by satirists at The Onion or The Daily Mash, nor had the town’s own visitor’s bureau gone rogue, they’d just decided, when faced with a polar vortex bringing chilling blizzards, record snowfall and crazy low temperatures to Ithaca, to try being honest for a change.
The message read:
“That’s it. We surrender. Go to Key West instead.”
“Due to this ridiculously stupid winter. Ithaca invites you to visit The Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now. PS Send us a postcard.”
The stunt promptly went viral, with the Governor of Florida understandably happy to join in the hype.
The Visit Ithaca homepage received record traffic last week, making it quite possibly the best travel pr win since Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign, where an ad for a job as “Caretaker of the Islands” on the Great Barrier Reef reminded the world quite how awesome Australia was.
And hell we hadn’t heard of Ithaca, New York State before this story had you? Though the more we learn about this “city in central New York” (see what they did there!) including its amazing slogan “Ithaca is GORGES” the more we like it.
Pun-tastic but classy and not too suggestive unlike some other tourist slogans we could mention.
Looking at you Latvia…
And Fiji… And at least when Ithaca says, “Don’t come here,” they mean, “Just not now when it’s bleak. Please come the rest of the year. In droves. Please.”
So pretty much the exact opposite of this, albeit very funny, Stop Telling People About Portland, campaign.
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