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The limit of marketing? Trust. A line not to be crossed

Friday, 22 April 2022 08:00

Japan still off limits? No worries, just take one of the Metaverse itineraries for small groups; three-day trips lasting an hour and a half each, with a Sushi & Ramen box and a tea ceremony thrown in. This was the press release our office got from an Italian online operator on 1 April. His first hi-tech virtual travel proposal. While a digital tour might or might not excite you, it was certainly a cute idea. A feasible but not particularly futuristic one, as many major hotels have shown over the last two pandemic years with home deliveries, and remote cooking classes with boxes of ingredients sent to your place of residence.

So all’s good then? Well not quite, because the Metaverse tour of Japan was actually fake news. An April Fool's joke, explained a note the following day. Funny? Well in part yes, it even raised a laugh here, and we fell for the hoax, publishing it and adding that real journeys are much better, because those in the Metaverse are not in our DNA. 

Yet something doesn’t quite add up. The problem in this case is that to get something published the authors of the April Fool's joke broke the trust that binds communicators and journalists. Nothing irreparable of course, but the doubt will be there when we receive their next media release. And the same law applies to promises in tourism: if you communicate something to a potential client, you have to keep your word. Do you invite guests to a special molecular cuisine evening and then tell them it's all a joke because a good old traditional dinner is a lot nicer?  It might even be true, it's not our job to judge. But I still don't think it's a good idea. Not even as a provocation. Not even on April Fool’s Day....

Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

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