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January 16, 2006

Advertising Mexico with a terrarium

Visit Mexico PromobusOn a cold Philadelphia night I encountered this life-sized terrarium as I hustled from the convention center to my hotel.

Is this kind of advertising worth the cost? I like advertising that can be measured in terms of return on investment. Image advertising has its place, with Coke, Pepsi and other mass producers. It may be impossible to tie this billboard to that moment of liquid refreshment, but ad expenditures can be mapped to market share and sales volume. Coke gets the benefit of Coke’s image ads. Does every Mexican tourist business get the benefit of a general increase in Mexican tourism? Does this kind of non-specific advertising even increase tourism?

Advertising financed by government agencies or government-mandated collectives always make me uncomfortable. Sure, every small tourist business in Mexico can not afford to advertise in Philadelphia. But spreading the cost of that advertising over the whole industry may not return the benefit equally. And without careful tracking of the return on investment, cool and innovative ideas (bikini-clad girls on cold winter streets) push out boring but potentially more effective resource use.

Of course, the campaign is award winning. I just wonder if the award is for cleverness or effectiveness.

Posted by Bob Pritchett at January 16, 2006 04:00 AM

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These things have been lumbering around Montreal since last winter. The bikini girls inside look more lethargic in our version, though.

Posted by: christopher at January 16, 2006 11:15 AM

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