Some campaign posters from the Viennese Tourist Board that you might spot around the city: “Paintings are disgusting” says Toby M of the contents of the city’s Leopold Museum; “Lawn is a mess” deadpans Audrey K of the Schönbrunn Palace; while Tom M offers, “The view is rubbish” from the Wien Prater ferris wheel (at least proving that the definite article is definitely a good idea). These brusque judgments have been lifted from online reviews of the city’s top attractions. Some bright spark in Austrian marketing has realised that the Lord of social media giveth but mostly he taketh away – and perhaps simply reprinting online critiques of startling banality will end up attracting the more discerning tourist.
Indeed, the coffee has been woken up to and practically snorted. Another recent Viennese campaign urged visitors to “Enjoy Vienna. Not #Vienna”, beneath a photo of the sort of couple who Instagram their coffee… Instagraming their coffee. We all love a giggle at five-star book reviews on Amazon that read “Product arrived on time and in good condition”. But the whittling down of our experience of the world based on something not receiving a 4.4 star-rating on Google Maps or Tripadvisor is sad and diminishing. A recent US print ad for a Honda SUV – pictured rumbling across rugged terrain – urges drivers to “Get there before the blogs do”. Three cheers for the sentiment of these campaigns but how to make it real? A Faraday cage around the Louvre? Here’s the trick: follow Toby M on Instagram and avoid his favourite places like the plague. Sod off, Toby.