Zurich Tourism Ad Targets Expats Living in the Middle East

Tonight I saw a commercial on CNN from the Zurich Tourism Board targeting expats living in the Middle East. As I was listening to it I just kept thinking wow, are they really saying that? The voice over mentions all the fantastic things about Zurich (and I agree, Zurich is fantastic) but after the opening line of “Life in the Middle East as an expat can be tough,” the connotation is that all of these fantastic things about Zurich are the exact opposite of the Middle East. I mean, it’s all true, but to put it in an commercial? Seems a bit cheeky to me.

Here is the text of the commercial and the TV spot.

Life in the Middle East as an expat can be tough. That’s why I like taking my family to Zurich. Things work here. Getting around is easy. Everything’s clean and safe. Zurich’s great for family fun. To me it’s like a breath of fresh air.

Zürich_Tourismus_Expat from Reto Caffi on Vimeo.

23 Comments on “Zurich Tourism Ad Targets Expats Living in the Middle East

  1. Hello,

    I accidentally came across your blog and photos. You are quite the talented writer and photographer. Photography is also a passion to me. Keep up the great work, Howell from Dallas

  2. I was very surprised when I saw this commercial on CNN. The implications struck me as offensive and very off key. Thanks for sharing a link to the video.

  3. I’d just now watched it on CNN. In searching for other’s impressions of the ad I found your blog. The opening line – precisely. I also couldn’t believe what the voice over had said. Then to juxtapose with all things beautiful and to end with “like a breath of fresh air” was so very implicating and made me quite sad as though meant to be subliminal, I’m sure many are picking up the negative connotations and it sucks to have to hear the Middle East you know – especially for those living in the area – being placed as second rate to the leading global city.

  4. I just saw the same commercial and it is ridiculously offensive. I wrote CNN and Zurich Tourism Board. Really, how lame is your city if you have to put down a whole region to promote it?

    • Mona, did you write letters to them or emails. I am trying to search on line to find addresses to which I can also send emails but can’t find anything. Can you help?
      I also want to continue my discussion re this on Facebook and get others to write to them both.

  5. This commercial was not simply cheeky as someone above has stated. It is in dreadful taste and is especially bad for countries like Egypt who are trying to get tourism back on its feet. In any case expats live a great life in the Middle East.

  6. Rosemary,

    I sent a comment to CNN via their website and for Zurich tourism Board I sent to susanne.jungbluth@zuerich.com who I found out was one of the responsible people and to the more general address information@zuerich.com. A lot of people I know have sent in complaints, but now the video has been removed from Vimeo and can’t find another copy. Hopefully it means some action will be taken. Will let you know when I get a response.

  7. I don’t think you can make generalizations about all expats saying they live a “great” or “luxurious” life in the Middle East. (And even if one lives in so called “luxury” there can be parts of life that are “tough,” no?)

    Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that the advertisement was in bad taste and didn’t need to say “Life in the Middle East as an expat can be tough.” If you’re an expat living in the Middle East and you think your life there is tough, you can make the connection about a trip to Zurich on your own.

  8. I searched for ‘Zurich TV add offensive” on Google and found your website because I couldnt believe it when I saw the add today and wanted to see if other people found it strange too.

    By saying Zurich has all those things it is saying the Middle East is:
    – dirty
    – things don’t work
    – you can’t get a round
    – you can’t have fun
    – it stinks

    I love Zurich, but really!

    • I 100% agree with you. They can just say Zurich is all those things (because it’s true) without implying that the Middle East is the opposite.

      • I’ve just had a long mail from the tourism representative and she assured me they did not mean to give offence and that the expat voice-over will be changed to a more generic text, it will also not mention the Middle East.

        I appreciate their prompt and friendly feedback, just hope that the entire rest of the planet is now not insulted 🙂

      • Zurich, German parts are always boring, discipline & cold and cheap…..
        you feel living in a military base!!
        weather is awful, people have no humor, not spontaneous, smiling is a why??
        what ever they do they have to refer a manual!! Geneva maybe be a bit “marry” due to the french connection!
        whateva is associated to Germans is sad, they’re still living in WWII.

      • I saw this commercial about a month ago and remember finding it offensive (and thought to myself I should google others’ impressions later, which of course I forgot to do). I just saw the re-dubbed commercial on CNN today and as I was watching thought that it didn’t sound quite as offensive. I’m glad that folks were alert and got the Zurich tourism bureau to adjust it. I guess sometimes advertisers do respond to feedback.

  9. OMG I saw this commercial too! I saw it several times and remember thinking how terrible it sounded. Now they changed the voice over to “Life as an international expat is tough”. Much better I think..

    • I still hear the new version of the ad all the time on CNN. So glad that it got changed. I still think of the old version each time it airs though 🙂

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