One Slingshot Away

I found my first advertisement from Arnold that I’m disappointed in. For the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Arnold created these billboards:

Before I begin the negative criticism, let me highlight something I like. Arnold was targeting Florida residents. They state “Most Americans know The Bahamas are beautiful. What they don’t know is just how close they are.” Florida residents overlook the fact that the Bahamas are only 50 miles from Miami. It’s a powerful fact that Arnold was smart to capitalize on.

Now for the areas of improvement: The headline. First, the headline does not stick out and grab my attention. It’s a stereotypical tourism headline. Even Arnold called it a “standard message.” Secondly, the headline doesn’t go with the concept. Proximity is what Arnold tried to highlight, but “It’s Better In The Bahamas” doesn’t fit at all. Instead, another standard message  of “Just 50 miles away” is thrown into the subhead in an attempt to connect to their “one thing.”

The visual of the crystal clear water matches the headline, but once again, it’s a stereotypical image and has nothing to do with the concept of proximity.

What was the result of this work? Nothing. This billboard had little effect, so what did Arnold do? Add sculptures.

I think the sculptures were smart, if only the billboard was better. The sculptures feature people slingshotting or catapulting themselves to the Bahamas – a means of transportation that could only get you a short distance (Maybe 50 Miles). The sculptures are eye-catching and fit with the proximity concept, but they were only a band-aid to cover up a failing billboard. Still, the headline and visual do not match the proximity concept, but the sculptures do. It’s not cohesive and leads to confusion. Until I read Arnold’s explanation on their website, I had no idea what the sculptures were doing and why they were there.

Arnold missed some really good copywriting opportunities, but they went the wrong route. What did we learn from this? A good creative brief is important, and sticking to the “one thing” is critical.


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