The idea of this tourism ad for Los Angeles is to say "This Isn’t Trump’s America," It works on the assumption that various travel ban stories have spooked people enough to book their vacations elsewhere. Los Angeles is looking down a barrel of what they call the "Trump Slump," where Los Angeles projecting 800,000 fewer foreign visitors in the next three years and could lose $736 million in direct spending by tourists, if that projection is correct. Now that LALA-Land has max-taxed their main industry (Hollywood) until there's been a mass exodus to more tax-friendly states like Georgia, Los Angeles needs as much extra cash as possible. Keep in mind, it's not clear the "Trump Slump" will even happen; tourism has already declined since 2016 due to a strong dollar. Tourists may simply be trying to get more bang for their buck elsewhere due to economics. Still, the strategy here is to quell any concerns tourists from Canada, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, and China might have about going to the United States now. Los Angeles wants to show that they are "not Trump's America."
Looking at the ad, it clearly targets the young, hip AirBnB type who travels off the beaten path. The people who don't visit Disneyland, or famous landmarks, but instead stroll down beaches and hang out in cafés with friends they met online. The ad is cast with a Pantone® book of perfectly diverse attractive young people. We have skateboarding muslim women, gay couples, friendly trans women, young South Americans, black women doing yoga, Indian women eating Mexican food, Asians, lesbians, mothers, daughters, giddy dancing couples, street artists and so on - all who watch the path of a paper airplane fly over L.A.
In between the shots of everyone from central casting, we see some places worth a visit: The farmer's market. The Walt Disney Concert Hall. The views from Santa Monica mountains. Culver City. The Hollywood Hills. The piers, the beaches, the street art in DTLA. All of the places you'll waste hours of your vacation driving or taking an Uber to.
They want to show you that L.A. is diverse, inclusive, friendly. That L.A. has all these people in it, and loves everyone. It could have gotten worse with camera pans on nose-pierced purple-haired people, but it's close enough. The point is to show you that L.A. has street art and queer people and crafty stuff. To me, this is amusing as hell. I travel a lot. I can see all of these people in Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Malmö and Paris - just to count up a few places I've been to in the last year. I can see the street art and skateboarding muslim girls, the kissing same sex couples and the funky haired youth in all of these places, including in Malmö which has a population of less than 350,000 people. I suppose they just showed me something that is very L.A. with that: L.A. is narcissistic enough to think it's special. L.A. thinks they're the first city to have the mix you can see in every European city for well over two decades. That's cute.
What's missing in this Los Angeles ad is... Los Angeles. You can see street art, farmer's markets and an eclectic group of diverse artsy people in every U.S. city, from New York to Portland. New York ran with the idea that "Everyone is welcome," which struck a similar tone to this ad. This doesn't separate Los Angeles much from the rest of the large cities in the United States. In the end tourists don't travel to see the same people they can see at home, they are looking for the climate, the famous landmarks they saw in movies, the big attractions, the food, the art, the microbreweries, the wine - the things that can only be found in X place. And no matter how smiling the people are in this ad, you'll still have immigration to deal with with at LAX, with lines that can last for hours. After a ten+ hour flight, it is the worst welcome.
This ad will air in the markets of China, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.
Client: Los Angeles Tourism