Do the Bolt Commericals Promoting Tourism Matter?

Will the face that has the global footprint of the Jamaican brand make a difference in growing the tourism sector?

  I shared that I would give you my opinion of the effectiveness of these spots.  I delayed to do some small scale market research asking Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans their opinion of the commercials.


The Jamaicans shared patriotic  enthusiasm about the commercials, while I found a lukewarm response from non-Jamaicans.


In a three way race between the Bolt commercial, the Geico Caveman (The Insurance guy), and the Geico creature, it is very doubtful if the Bolt commercial would get the bronze.


How would one explain the difference?

Let me give you some background on what’s happening in advertisement. A dramatic change has taken place in the landscape of promotion. 2007 is  viewed as a milestone year in the field of advertisement.


2007 is regarded as the year internet marketing became fully mainstreamed.

  • Don’t believe me.  Just think of the devices and services we deploy to avoid ads.  Newspapers are dropping like flies as the  newspaper ads are not working thanks to internet sites such as Craigslist.
  • We have DVR to watch TV on our own terms.
  • We shut out tele-marketers by registering our phone numbers on do not call lists.

No longer do folks depend on unsolicited ads to make their purchasing decisions.


80% of folks go to the web and do their research on products.


A snapshot on how traditional ads forms are rapidly receding.

 The Superbowl is the only TV forum where we look forward to TV commercials and these commercials are tied into a web and social media presence.


There is a unspoken memo floating around that  seem to have not reached the Jamaican Tourist Board. The memo’s basic message:

Beware Being Invisible!


Deploying a TV only  ad strategy is a means of ignoring this clear wisdom.

In an attention-challenged world, you better build a community that will promote your unique value proposition.


So which color would you rather be?

  • Suppose your promotion was such that people seek you out because you delivered credible message on how to have memorable vacations?

  • Eagerly open every message you sent them about visiting Jamaica?

  • The search engines automatically send the Jamaican tourist web sites  traffic of new customers for free.

  • What would it mean to get free word of mouth referrals from folks who have become evangelists of our land of endless summer?



So, we had one of the most recognizable faces on the planet in the person of Usain Bolt.  How do you deploy such a key asset?


So how do I rate the Bolt commercial?

A great commercial comprises of three key components.

Command attention – Bolt did his job to arrest attention, but who wants to run on their vacation?

Communicate a relevant message -Muddled at best, did not detect a clear audience  target.

Compel more sales  through a great offer– Did I miss something here?


Bottom line – these ads are clearly awareness pieces which as so old school in  this new era of social media.

So what would this analyst use to set this key  portion of the Jamaican economy on fire?


let me share some basic principles.


  1. The Jamaican brand will prosper when it bridges a gap inside the consumers mindset of where they are now and where they want to be. From the craziness of their office to our relaxing beach paradise. Social media can help build that bridge.

  2. The Jamaican brand need advocates to spread the word – nothing better than social media for recommendations,  and viral sharing.

  3. The Jamaican brand need to communicate at all levels and to all emotions.An evolving media mix will be the fix.

  4. The Jamaican brand need to listen, that appropriate message adjustments can be made. Reputation management is key in the new online arena.

  5. The Jamaican brand need to be consistent and constant in their consumers lives. Think daily tweets , posts, and blogs.



As the global economy continue to slip and slide, the tourist industry  that does its best in engaging the consumer ; building and nurturing an on-line relationship  will be able to prosper in this uncertain economy. 

About the author


I am an entrepreneur whose focus is on helping small businesses deploy internet marketing tools to leverage new customers and profits. I believe in the survival of the knitted, and thus champion those who are making a difference in our community.