Picture Tuscany; and images of natural beauty come to mind… And now imagine Tuscany, only imagine it … well, improved. Tuscany is land of countless treasures and picturesque beauty… yet incredibly someone in Tuscany’s tourism promotion bureau had seen it ok to approve a new promotional campaign called “Divina Toscana” riffing on Dante’s admonishments and featuring images of the region bettered by photo-retouching… some of the images showoff Hollywood sunsets, some actually feature invented landscapes – some showcase sloppy collages of cities, and monuments.
After much controversy from citizens, art directors and within the higher echelons of the Regional management – and just as we go to press – the campaign has been pulled. The boondoggle embodies unfortunate choices and becomes an all-too-typical controversy “Made in Italy.”
The publicity campaign which cost over a million and a half euros, would have succeeded Tuscany’s last
incredibly ridiculous attempt at self-promotion … er award-winning pr campaign, which was called “Voglio Vivere Cosi,” … and which featured other peculiar “landmarks” of Tuscany… such as winged horses and top models in powdered wigs. (You probably have seen these … inventive spots if you passed through Pisa Airport in the last few years… we link to one of those spots, on Vimeo).
At first – even after many had expressed outrage at the unwarranted “improvements” (peaks were added to the Apuan Alps, trees and beaches invented out of whole cloth…) the Region stated that it would go ahead with the campaign, in “order not to waste the money already spent” … and would devote an additional 100,000 euros to place the ads. The chorus of “no!” which started in the media and in the social media, has in past days grown into a deafening “WTF?” … theb campaign became the lightning rod for outrage and ridicule – one public official worried aloud that the region might have opened itself to accusations of false advertising, and the potential ensuing lawsuits.
The campaign apparently was the result of a hurried procedure and supposedly only three officials in the Bureau had seen and approved the thing.
Visit Tuscany’s official tourism website, linked here, to find out about other initiatives the Region has in the works.
In the interest of all things Tuscany here are a few more of the offensive advertisements: