When keeping a big secret, a part of you definitely wants to show it off, but the rest of you knows that’s a bad idea. If it’s a location, it’s even worse. Once you let that idyll’s existence, whereabouts, and charm drift into the wind and the ears of folks from elsewhere, it’s only a matter of time before they make the pilgrimidge to the beloved spot on Earth—only to destroy all the magic they’re trying to capture. That was local residents’ primary concern for Canada’s Bowen Island, but then the Vancouver-based agency Rethink came up with the best slogan: “Tell your friends it’s awful here.”
It’s pretty ingenious, as it’s a solution to a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t dilemma, according to Bowen resident and Rethink founder Christ Staples.
“We love to show off our island, but we don’t want it to be overrun with tourists. We want visitors, but only if they really ‘get’ what makes Bowen special.”
In the vein of, and inspired by, the “Keep Portland Weird” campaign that has defined a city well beyond its initial grassroots allure, Bowen Island’s campaign is kind of a reverse psychology tactic that’s aimed at only snagging the smarter tourists. The PSA and its assets are embodied by four animals: the deer, who Staples says “really own this island and we’re just guests”; the eagle, which represents vigilance for protecting nature; the seal, which represents trying new things, such as diving; and the slug, which represents Island Time, or the slowing down to enjoy life.
All in all, it’s a fun campaign that piques the interest of only those who are worthy. See it’s quirky approach to only recruiting the right amount of proper tourists below.