Calling BullSh*t On Travel Brand Ambassadors

Calling BullSh*t On Travel Brand Ambassadors

Former Travel Weekly journo and now B&T one, Hannah Edensor, is clearly no fan of very famous people being paid big bikkies to be the frontman for over-priced holiday destinations…

Hannah Edensor
Posted by Hannah Edensor

Travel ambassadors are a bit like the dude who plays the tambourine. They’re attractive, they’re at the front and make the rest of the band look good, but at the end of the day, they’re not really adding to the music.

I feel the same about any celebrity, Instagram influencer or YouTube sensation that flogs a brand and bangs on about how much they love, celebrate and resonate with it.

Take Taylor Swift for New York City & Company. Yes, she’s gorgeous and her squad is on point, but what does she contribute to the value of the mega NYC brand? She was born in Pennsylvania and up until recently, her music was more Nashville than Manhattan, so where’s the connection?

Do people now book trips to the big apple because they think Tay Tay might be there, munching on some breakfast at Tiffany’s or because they truly trust her heartfelt (ahem, well-paid) “affinity” with the brand? I reckon Humans of New York does a better job to add value and entice me to the big smoke than Swifty does.

Then there’s Jennifer Aniston and Emirates. Sure, maybe she really does fly with the airline and enjoys sprawling out in their unnecessarily oversized lie-flat seats while the rest of us plebs schlep it up in the ass of the plane, but then again, maybe they just paid her a lot of money.

A fat five million to be exact.

A very quick Google of her partnership with Emirates shows fans weren’t exactly thrilled with the ads either, where she wakes from a horrifying dream about a plane with no bar or shower. Complaints have lambasted Emirates for being “disconnected” from the bulk of the population, while another disgruntled ex-fan of the airline told them to “show this to someone who shits money for a living”.

I can’t help but concur.

Often, we don’t even know about celebs being matched up with a brand, let alone feel an urge to follow them like sheep around the world (even though they are one hundred per cent not there when you arrive).

Gangnam style singer Psy was named as the tourism ambassador for the Korean Tourism Organisation, appearing in an ad that sees him rap (and I use that term lightly) about different things to do in the country, Jackie Chan and Richard Gere turned a quick trip to China into a lucrative ambassador stint, and don’t even get me started on….

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