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The Photography Ban

JUNG VON MATT/LIMMAT, Zurich / GRAUBÜNDEN TOURISM / 2018

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Overview

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Overview

Background

The holiday region “Bergün”, located in the alpine canton of Graubünden, desperately needs more tourists. The task was to find a low budget solution that would make people aware of the charming mountain village.

Idea

For the sake of those unable to be in Bergün themselves, the local municipal assembly issued a law banning photography in the village. No joke. A legally binding move, and one made from the heart.

Strategy

There is a beautiful insight that lead to the idea: it is scientifically proven that when people take a look at holiday photos from others, e.g. on social media, they get unhappier when they can`t be in holidays themselves. So photos from Bergün must make people even unhappier because it is just so beautiful there. The consequence: ban photographs from Bergün.

Execution

The wording of the law was sent to the press, and after just 24 hours, news of the ban had spread all over the world. Bergün used social media to further promote its campaign, and even NASA was requested to refrain from taking pictures. Bergün had been trending for a while. Google Image Search exploded. We banned photography, and now people all over the world searched desperately for photos of Bergün, discovering as they did so how beautiful the place really is. And this was the key – exactly how it was meant to happen.

Outcome

After just three days some 1622 articles about the beauty of Bergün had accumulated. This resulted in a reach of 897.2 million contacts. And all with a media budget of zero. But earned media worth 9.1 million Swiss francs.

Bookings for Bergün rose by 470%, all in all making the photography ban the most successful and efficient Swiss brand publicity stunt of all time.

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