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The fox and tourist promotion

Di Antonio Caneva, 16 Giugno 2016

Tourist promotion is a most bizarre matter, where you can find just about anything. I remember, for example, one year when a small Italian village participated in the ITB Berlin with an imposing exhibition stand. It was a small village in an area without attractions, operated by a couple of modest-scale facilities with no more than 60 beds in all. I can imagine the large German tourist organisations interacting with this type of reality!
Speaking of oddities, I received a press release from APT in Val Sugana, titled “Adopt a cow”. I read it and found out that you can adopt a cow by paying 60 euros a year, obtaining the right to recognise the cow in the mountain pasture and to receive dairy products for 50 euros (10 euros being donated in favour of solidarity projects).
It seems an eccentric idea to me; it is true that a promotional body needs to actively pursue its institutional purpose, but this is a rather unusual proposal.
It is best, however, not to be conceited and nor to regard one’s own point of view as the only valid one; therefore I sought the opinion of a marketing expert. Here is the reply I received:
“I find it difficult to issue a balanced judgement. Trying to contain myself, I can tell you that it seems a cunning trick, not very smart, were it not for the naivety of those who subscribe to it (1,000?!?) and its repetitiveness (nobody had anything to complain about in 12 years?). In the best of cases, it is a project without purpose (why should cows need to be adopted?) except for sending a handful of bored vacationers to collect their goods, whose quality is to be checked, paid in advance, without previous knowledge of the cost!”
The initiative is probably purposely meant to be spoken about, and in fact it has met its purpose, since this is exactly what I am doing. But it also lends itself to sarcastic comments: for example, one thousand adoptions were already achieved in 2016, according to the information released, while there are 150 cows. Cows with multiple parents! Or I can imagine that, after recognising their cow, the “adoptive parents” should then take her to the slaughterhouse, when the time comes, to provide comfort in her last few hours of life.
It is probably a project that requires little investment, and is managed in-house; but experience teaches that nothing comes for free: the resources employed, the brochures, the communication and, not last, the choice of promotion instead of some other more understandable, direct and generally accepted approach.
It springs to my mind what I recently read: whoever becomes fox, sometime risks to end up in the furrier’s shop.

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