A recent YouTube ad campaign funded by the Macedonian government and meant to teach people how to behave with tourists upset many Macedonians through its style, Balkan Insight writes. The seven one-minute clips that went viral after being posted last week present several “Macedonian endemic species” including a bed-and-breakfast owner, an “alpha male,” a taxi driver, a waiter, and a market vendor, each behaving in a rude an unwelcoming way.
The clips, in English with Macedonian subtitles, conclude with the written message, “We must not allow this to be the picture of Macedonia.” Economy Minister Valjon Saracini explained that the “guerrilla marketing style” used in the ads was meant to draw attention to their message and improve the behavior of locals towards tourists.
The opposition Liberal Democrat party accused the government of spending about 550,000 euros on a campaign that would only turn tourists away. A former member of the state anti-corruption commission, Dragan Malinovski, said the ads, which “should encourage moral and responsible conduct, are often a source of corruption themselves,” Radio Free Europereports.
Past expensive ad campaigns to promote tourism and to encourage Macedonians to behave well, stop smoking, and read more books also met with disapproval from critics of the conservative, nationalist government headed by Nikola Gruevski.