This week’s SkiftAds takes us around the world and back by starting with a Canadian city’s debated music video and moving to the colorful locals in South Africa.

While Calgary attempts to paint the picture-perfect image of its city to several local’s chagrin, South Africa lets its flaws and quirks define its beauty. The result of each highlights what matters most in tourism marketing: authenticity.

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Tourism Calgary turned its latest ad into a music video by featuring local group Jocelyn and Lisa. It’s a great concept and upbeat video that falls short by including too many generic images. One critique is on point with its observation that the ad “makes Calgary look like, well, almost anywhere.” The video comes as part of Calgary’s 2013 ad campaign “Known/Unknown,” unrolled this week.

Is Icelandair promoting duty-free shopping, attracting female customers, or encouraging vacation affairs in this new ad spot? The airline markets itself as the facilitator of such relaxing trips, but does itself a disservice by not including a flight shot at the end and leaving viewers wondering what it is they’re watching.


A colorful inspiring tribute to South Africa was created when South Africa Tourism and National Geographic collaborated on a ‘Through The Lens’ series, which brought nine NG photographers and filmmakers to nine cities in South Africa. The two videos above feature Heather Perry in Cape Town and Lola Akinmade-Akerstrom in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The minute-long vignettes will run on the NG Channel throughout Europe and Asia.

This video is the first ad released through a new partnership between Hostelworld and VisitBritain aimed at German youth. The campaign focuses on friends made on trips and presumably in hostels with the tagline, “Join Friends. Book Now.” The promotion has run on all major German channels for one month now.

Best Western is expanding quickly overseas in burgeoning markets including Myanmar and Haiti. This summer ad spot is a nice reflection on the brand’s pride and sparks a renewed sense of opportunity as exemplified in its recent growth.

Photo Credit: Photographer Lola Akinmade-Akerstrom interacts with locals in the South Africa province of KwaZulu-Natal. National Geographic