The Vienna Tourist Board asks ‘Who decides what you like?’ with new ad campaign

From 3 – 16 June, the Vienna Tourist Board is launching a new ad campaign called ‘Unrating Vienna’ across the London underground, Waterloo station and digital bus stops throughout the city. Asking the question, ‘So who decides what you like?’ the campaign focuses on the highly topical area that has a huge impact on the tourism industry – online ratings.

Explaining the thinking behind the campaign, Norbert Kettner, Vienna Tourist Board’s Managing Director said, “In our current Vienna campaign we take a humorous look at the notion that online ratings are not always the right path to take when it comes to looking for relaxation and moments of enjoyment. It is intended to make people sit up and think and trigger broader public discussion.”

He adds, “We’re not waving a finger at the latest advances in technology that are supposed to make our lives easier – online ratings are a great thing which we ourselves use in our own marketing activities as a tourism destination. However, we see digitalisation as a cultural tool that people should take advantage of, and not as an end in itself.”

We live in a digital bubble with search machines deciding what we find, social network algorithms deciding which friends matter the most and what might interest us. Rankings, votes, and Top 10 lists decide where we go on holiday. From hotel rooms to restaurants, taxi drivers to the latest chewing gum flavour, everything and everyone is rated these days. With 95% of holidaymakers reading at least seven reviews before they book a holiday, people trust the opinions of total strangers and follow their opinions and ratings. 

Having all of those Top 10 lists to work through on holiday makes it even more difficult to discover anything new or surprising and enjoy a unique experience. Chance encounters can only happen when visitors have the opportunity to get a feel for the city and go out exploring on their own terms. The Vienna Tourist Board wants to use its Unrating Vienna campaign to encourage visitors to explore the city beyond those ‘must-see’ destinations. 

The five adverts by WIEN NORD Werbeagentur, each portray beautiful, positive, enjoyable moments, places or objects in Vienna that have been dragged through the mud by genuinely negative ratings or polarising comments from various users. A romantic trip on the Danube is rated “boooring” and given one star. The other ads include the view over Prater Park described as “rubbish,” Schönbrunn Palace’s lawn as “a mess,” a coffee house with “no takeaway coffee” and wine tavern Heuriger Schübel-Auer, with “no backrests.”

Each ad includes the slightly provocative line “So who decides what you like?” which directly addresses the observer, calling on them to actively reflect their choices. Ideally, it will inspire them to think about the relationship between self-determination and being dictated by outside influencers. Calling on visitors to “Discover your own Vienna” creates a connection with Vienna as a destination and encourages them to engage with the city and discover what it has to offer on their own initiative. 

As well as playing out across 30 London underground stations, Waterloo train station and 35 digital bus stops, throughout June the campaign will also have a strong social media presence as well as on selected online platforms such as TripAdvisor – the place where the topic of ratings is at its most relevant. Programmatic advertising on digital channels will target various audiences across desktop, mobile and addressable TV. Using the hashtag #UnratingVienna will help carry the discussion across international borders. 

From 6 – 8 June, the campaign will be brought into the real world in collaboration with the Leopold Museum and MuseumsQuartier in Vienna. The idea that art can divide opinion and speaks to each individual differently is well-known.

In a show of courage and self-confidence, the famed Leopold Museum has agreed to have the worst (anonymous) ratings projected onto the side of the building in a joint statement with the Vienna Tourist Board. Over the course of three days, there will be a mobile tourist office on-site, with promoters on hand to explain the campaign and distribute postcards featuring other images and lines from the campaign.

The final element of promoting the campaign will involve two top UK travel influencers, Wanderlust Chloe and A Lady in London, who will visit Vienna and go off exploring of their own accord – not seeking direction from TripAdvisor, Google reviews or any other platforms offering Top 10 lists. The idea is for the influencers to walk through the city with an open mind, take their time and engage with the people and places around them. They will share, but not rate, their personal impressions which they pick up on their voyages of discovery.

During the campaign, a random experience generator at the tourist office on Albertinaplatz will suggest different Viennese encounters off the beaten path to visitors. Injecting an element of fun, encouraging them to explore locations beyond those Top 10 lists and sending them off to discover the many different sides to the city on their way to these randomly generated destinations. 

All advertising materials and social media measures lead to a landing page, which reveals what the campaign is all about, shares interesting information about ratings and reviews, presents some of the weirdest reviews and contains links to out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

Source: WIEN NORD Werbeagentur

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