If you were watching the Super Bowl on CBS on Sunday, chances are you saw the primetime debut of a $4.5 million advertisement by the Ministry of Tourism.
But since then, the 61-second commercial, intended to encourage visitors to come to The Bahamas, has received both good and bad reviews from Bahamian citizens.
Viral comments flooded both Facebook and Twitter as some locals reveled in the country’s moment of international spotlight while others took the opportunity to express their disapproval.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said that the ministry intentionally decided to not place cultural items like Junkanoo and cuisine in the commercial, which rubbed many Bahamians the wrong way.
“Truthfully, all of our surveys in the past have shown that people are attracted to The Bahamas because of our natural beauty and then they want to participate in our culture secondly,” he said.
“We just hope that the Bahamian people trust us and understand that we’ve done this and we have to be mindful of how we get our money’s worth and a return on the investment,” he added.
According to Minister Wilchcombe, the cost to place the “Behold The Bahamas” ad in the highly anticipated Super Bowl commercial slot was $197,000.
“The whole campaign will draw over the next couple of months and will include billboards, print, television of course and even Facebook. It will include a number of things that will show why we took this approach as the introduction.”
“Now we’re going out to New York, Washington. Philadelphia and Atlanta Markets,” he said.
Nalini Bethel, a senior director for Communications in the Ministry of Tourism, said the ad will appear on CNN, Bravo, ESPN, HGTV, USA, Food Network and Lifetime in addition to local stations in the previously mentioned markets.
“This will be followed by an Out of Home campaign that will feature dominant outdoor advertising in public transportation stations such as Grand Central Station and at Rockefeller Center in New York as well as billboard advertising in Times Square and a dynamic walls cape in Miami and billboards in Ft. Lauderdale.”
“The whole plan is to have a sustained presence throughout the year by staggering the media in key target markets,” she said.
Since hitting YouTube yesterday the commercial has had over 13,000 views and is still growing.
Despite criticism of there not being enough ‘Bahamians’ in the commercial, Bethel said there was a number a number of locals involved.
“The Grand Bahama Youth Choir provided background vocals from their recording of “Brown Girl In The Ring” and Bahamian Greg Barrett delivered the voiceover. During the shoots in Exuma, more than 30 individuals and businesses provided services that include production assistance, assistance to the director, local casting, transportation, marine coordination, accommodations and stand-in model work,” she said.
Deborah Knowles on YouTube said, “I was overwhelmed and reminded of the beauty and uniqueness of my Bahamas…great job!!!”