Like this picture, there are many things wrong with Sri Lanka Tourism.
There have been mad shufflings at Sri Lanka Tourism lately, which I guess is OK, cause I’m not entirely sure what they do. Sri Lanka has numerous resources with invisible or actively incompetent administration (sports being the latter) and if the Sri Lanka Tourist Board were to vanish tomorrow I’m not sure too many people would notice. The biggest news they made in latter years was branding Sri Lanka ‘A Small Miracle’ and then backtracking at the last minute. Now the slogan is ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka’ with eight random words as thematic hooks. Which is confusing. I think I got something better.
The Old Slogan: Small Miracle
Slightly jarring song aside, I thought the small miracle idea was OK. Playing off the Arthur C. Clarke quote that this island was a small universe, the ads showed the beauty of Sri Lanka and then would often end with the experience being folded up into a character’s backpack. This is one of the appeals of Sri Lanka, that there’s so much awesome stuff that you don’t have to travel days in between.
However, the word ‘small’ rubbed some people the wrong way and the campaign got scrapped at the last minute, at great expense.
Current: Refreshingly Sri Lanka, Wonder Of Asia
The current campaign uses much of the same images, but under a meaningless brand. Actually two meaningless brands. Or make that ten. In addition to the catch phrases above, material has also been thematically organized under the following categories: Pristine, Heritage, Thrills, Wild, Bliss, Scenic, Essence, and Festive. Eight is too many in the first place, but they’re internally incoherent. Pristine is an adjective and Heritage is a noun. They haven’t even used the same type of word, it’s just a word salad. Plus eight is too much to remember, and the traits aren’t even uniquely Sri Lanka. It’s a hodgepodge and a fail.
My Idea: Sri Lanka – Like India but better
Here’s something better. ‘Sri Lanka. Like India, but better.’ People already have an Indian experience branded in their heads, but they get there and it’s people peeing in the streets and days of travel. I’m not saying that India isn’t great, but it is a very large miracle and you will deal with arduous travel and public urination, guaranteed. Sri Lanka has much of the imagined oriental experience (and more), without the bad parts. People are nice, speak English almost anywhere, travel times are shorter, and there is no shortage of natural beauty and awesomeness.
Sri Lanka. Like India but better.