Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Contradiction Bristol

A little over a week ago this blog asked the rhetorical question "is there not a contradiction in Bristol's image as an international luxury shopping destination and its Green Capital aspirations?". It seems that the question was noticed by our ever positive tourism bosses because just 8 days later a new piece of visit-bristol PR guff wends its way across the web, proudly touting Bristol as "a contradiction of consumerism and environmentalism".

You can't win, can you. You deliver what you naively think is the killer blow, pointing out the admittedly obvious contradiction between Bristol's parallel promotion of consumerism and environmentalism, and what do they do? They don't see problems, merely opportunities, and it seems that I did no more than supply them with Bristol's USP in the global tourism market place - we are to be promoted as a 'contradiction'.

In the amoral world of PR and marketing anything goes if it delivers the bottom line, in this case tourist Euros. Cuba has long been successfully promoted as a land of contradictions so why not Bristol? It taps into a fundamental of human nature - we all want to have our cake and eat it. A living contradiction offers the cake both ways while relieving the recipient of the moral dilemma - just blame it on your host's contradictory nature.

Fly over to Bristol, indulge in some luxury shopping (now the £ is so cheap), balance it with a bit of green gesturing, preferably by hiring a bike to pootle around Harbourside, popping into various trendy bars and cafes en route, and then put the perversity of it all down to Bristol's quaintly contradictory nature. Guilt-free self indulgence - just what the modern world craves (and not just the modern world - from the days of pilgrimages and crusades, tourism has always been tied up with assuaging our sense of guilt about our own contradictions).

A few more contradictory gems from the same PR puffery
  • "Transport is eco-friendly with the bicycle a popular choice..."
  • "Bristol Airport is fast expanding, flying to more than 70 destinations.."
  • "Bristol is becoming one of Europe's darlings and the mot du jour for 2009."
So it seems that contradiction is Bristol's mot du jour for 2009.


DonaQixota said...

"is there not a contradiction in Bristol's image as an international luxury shopping destination and its Green Capital aspirations?"

Not if you live in so-green Redland ... ?

woodsy said...

Remember: public relations, the press and advertising are not called the bullshit industries for nothing!

Spectator said...

Hypocrisy as the new marketing tool. Nice. These must want to give the rest of society as jaundiced and sick a view of life as they clearly have themselves.